Head of the Charles Regatta Returns to Massachusetts

Massachusetts is known for many things. Their great seafood, their phenomenal sports teams, their higher education institutes, and much more. But for one weekend every year in October, Massachusetts becomes the center of the rowing world when the Head of the Charles Regatta, or HOCR, arrives. Located on the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge, this event is one of the most important and popular rowing events in the entire world.

The 2021 Head of the Charles Regatta is going to be a huge event, and not just because the regatta is always a massive showcase. The 2021 iteration of this historic event marks a major return following the 2020 cancellation due to the COVID pandemic. This was only the second-ever year the HOCR has been canceled.

The HOCR was started in 1965 as a way to add a new exciting element to the training season for clubs and universities. While the origins of this event were small, eventually, the regatta blossomed into one of the most significant rowing events in the world.

Every year, according to a report by the Boston Business Journal, 11,000 athletes from 24 different countries flock to Boston to compete in 61 rowing events. There are 800 schools, organizations, and universities that send athletes to the regatta, and the talent level ranges from amateur rowers to Olympic-level athletes. The age range includes younger rowers of 14, all the way to senior rowers of 85.

The races that the crews are doing vary based on the number of rowers and their ages, but the general course remains the same. It starts at Boston University and finishes at Northeastern University, which is a three-mile stretch of water. The rowers must pass through six different bridges en route to their final destination.

This event isn’t just an important one for the sport of rowing. It is also massive for tourism in the Boston area. While most places tend to attract tourists in the summer, Massachusetts is known for its autumn colors and its great fall festivals. Fall is a huge season for tourism in New England, and every year the HOCR helps bring in a massive supply of rowing enthusiasts and other tourists looking to be around the bustling atmosphere.

The Head of the Charles Regatta, according to the same report by the Boston Business Journal, has 225,000 attendees over the two days that the event is on. Estimates indicate that the HOCR brings in $72 million in revenue for the Greater Boston Area, just from tourism and increased spending in local businesses. In a city recovering from a pandemic, a financial windfall is always welcome.

If you’re looking for the best spot to have some refreshments while the events are going, the HOCR makes sure they have several areas open for entertainment and food. The Reunion Village is the primary hotspot for athletes and spectators. With live commentary of the races, seating along the river, food concessions, and a beer garden, the fall atmosphere at Reunion Village makes it an incredible place to enjoy the weekend’s festivities.

This year’s regatta will mark a welcome return, but it won’t entirely be back to normal. There will still be COVID guidelines in place for the safety of volunteers, athletes, and spectators. This event brings in a huge supply of tourists, and without proper precaution, it could be a serious spreading event. Therefore, the HOCR is advising all spectators to be vaccinated, and there is a mandatory vaccination policy in place for volunteers. Masks will be mandatory in indoor spaces, although they won’t be necessary for the outdoor components that make up most of the event.

If you’re in the Boston area, prepare for a Head of the Charles Regatta to remember. It’s been almost two years since the last regatta, and rowers and fans alike will be antsy to get back at it. After the unfortunate cancellation of 2020, 2021 looks to be a year to remember.

The event takes place from October 22nd to October 24th and is sure to be an exciting occasion regardless of your affinity for rowing. For Boston, the HOCR will be an important event that brings droves of tourists and money into the local economy. For tourists, the HOCR is a festive and fun occasion with a long history that is worth celebrating.