151st MOLESEY AMATEUR REGATTA
21st-22nd JULY 2018.
The Regatta is held along the banks of the River Thames on the Hurst Park in East Molesey. It is now in its 151st year and continues to strive to embrace the rowing community and the local residents to make the weekend an enjoyable experience for everyone. Obviously we want people to support us and to learn to row and participate whether they are juniors or adults and of any ability and background. The Regatta is not a marketing campaign but more of an invitation to celebrate the occasion with the local community and the beautiful meadows of the Hurst Park which provide a glorious habitat for wild flowers, grasses and insect life such as bees and butterflies. It is where the communities of the river and the land truly come together.
So to set the scene, there are two large white marquees alongside two white witches hats covered in bunting and cascading flowering hanging baskets. There are over 700 boats of varying sizes and lengths lined up along the banks and over 400 crews and 1600 competitors lycra clad in their club colours getting ready to row a fiercely fought two days of racing.
It is a popular event in the racing calendar as it is has such a long history of being one of the best Regattas and in its heyday it was second to none to Henley as being the most popular Regatta of the racing year!
The Saturday course is 850 metres and is for Seniors, so adult rowers ranging from complete novices up to elite and ex-Olympians. It has to be said however, that some of the most exciting races are between the novice rowers and experienced rowers fighting to the end with hearts pounding hard. In the lunch hour we are aiming to run an event in two wooden eights which were built as copies of the original boats that raced the first Cambridge and Oxford Boat race in 1829. People with no rowing or racing experience will be invited to race – a short course only! This could be made up of local pubs putting forward teams – who knows yet but it provides lots of fun during the lunch hour. Prize giving is held twice throughout the day – the first with the local residing Mayor.
The racing on Sunday is dedicated to the Juniors (J11-J18) and is a shorter course of 500 metres downstream. They attract a large crowd and it is definitely a fun packed day on the river! We encourage families to gather and enjoy a picnic and absorb the racing cheers and smells of a sunny summer’s day by the river.
This year we have put a huge effort into making this more of a community event so there is in addition to two days of a fully packed racing schedule, a ‘Beer Festival’ sponsored by Fuller’s headlining ‘The Oddly Brewery’ which is a micro brewery on the island opposite the racing stretch. This is on an island called Platts Eyot and Brian the brewer, started his first brew last year on the day of our 150th regatta so we just had to get together and do something special. There will be 15 different types of beers including four from the Oddly brewery. And the great thing is, if in the event that we run out of beer, we can get a top up delivery by river! We want people to ‘Be There’ ! The Regatta wants to involve all local residents and local businesses so we have done a lot to make this happen this year.
In addition to the Beer Festival there is a Bar – wine, champagne prosecco and all at good prices. A Regatta would not be a Regatta without its sandwich and cakes and teas and a BBQ and Hog Roast and veggie options too. There is also a Luncheon Marquee providing visitors with a sit down 3 course meal, (Saturday only).
Entry to the event is FREE except for parking which is £4.00 and includes a programme . Become a Friend of the Regatta for £20 and you get free parking and a programme and a rather nice metal badge plus a free cream tea! There is also a food festival provided by local food artisans forming part of the exhibitor section which has a wide range of handicrafts and art from local people.
The mood will be lifted whatever the weather with live music provided by local musicians ranging from a man and his square fiddle to larger bands later towards the end of the day and into the evening to a Motown band . There are children performing from local dance schools and street dancing and a choir so it is indeed a medley of entertainment which will hopefully appeal to everyone.
For the children there is a vintage fairground, face painters, fire engine, doodle craft area and much much more!
Now take a big breath in as ‘FINALLY’ the Saturday event closes at 10.45 – 11pm with a crescendo of fireworks over the river. The whole thing continues again on the Sunday. So everything on the Saturday is there for the Sunday except the Luncheon marquee. It is a two day event ! This day however ends at 6pm after the last race …
Let’s hope the sun shines…
The regatta is environment friendly and only uses recyclables and compostable materials.
facebook : moleseyregatta1867
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20th June 2018