The 43rd annual Head of the Charles Regatta will be held later this month on Saturday, October 18th and Sunday, October 19th. Just as Patriot's Day (a.k.a. the running of the Boston Marathon) signifies the start of spring to many Bostonians, the regatta held along the banks of the Charles River signifies that it is Autumn. Few cities have so much tradition and history and while many complain that such rituals are stifling, I find them a source of pride.
This years event will draw more than 7,500 athletes and attract upwards of 300,000 spectators making it the world's largest two day rowing event. For those who have never been one might wonder why so many people attend such an obscure sporting event, but to look at this as just a rowing event is to miss the point and sell the regatta short. The event is so much more than just watching people race down the Charles River. There is plenty to see and do walking along the river banks and watching the races, looking at all the vendors and sponsors who line the river, chatting with people you meet who have travelled from across the country and in some cases the world, cheering rowers as they row feverishly and of course walking through Harvard Square which comes alive in a way that you only see once a year during this event.
I take great pride in these unique traditions and celebrations put on for the benefit of all and free to watch. I wish there were more opportunities like this and look forward to spending some time that weekend in Cambridge cheering, drinking and enjoying myself in general. I would encourage others to take advantage of this annual tradition too. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy yourself.