More than 10,000 rowers from 29 states, Canada, the United Kingdom and Sweden are expected in town this weekend for the 31st Head of the Hooch regatta on the Tennessee River. It is the seventh straight year the event has been held here.
Spectators can walk along Riverfront Parkway, mingling with the more than 1,600 high school, college and masters rowing teams and the many vendors, or they can watch the rowing action from the Bluff View area or from the Walnut or Market Street bridges.
The Head of the Hooch has become the second-largest regatta in the country behind the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.
Races will run from 8:40 a.m. to 6:24 p.m. Saturday and from 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Head of the Hooch was begun by the Atlanta Rowing Club and originally held in Roswell, Ga., along the Chattahoochee River. It moved to Chattanooga after outgrowing Atlanta and Gainesville, Ga.
It is co-hosted by the Atlanta club and the local Lookout Rowing Club.
Chattanooga was voted Best Town for a Race by Rowing News readers in 2009.
IF YOU GO
What: Head of the Hooch rowing regatta.
When: 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Finish line at Ross's Landing.
Chattanooga Pier: Teams launch and recover on three floating docks near the pier. The logistics involved in getting hundreds of racing shells in and out of the water is half the show.
Ross's Landing: The finish line is directly downstream of the Market Street Bridge. The race announcer will be here, keeping spectators updated on the competition and sharing team history and accomplishments.
Walnut Street Bridge: The rowers will sprint for the finish as they pass by Maclellan Island and under the south end of the bridge.
Bluff View Art District: The view from the Sculpture Garden overlook will allow spectators to see the teams pouring it on from upstream.
Tennessee Riverpark: From the Chattanooga Rowing Center to the Boathouse Restaurant, the teams will come very close to the south shore as they make their last turn onto the final straightaway. Expect to hear lots of grunting, yelling and perhaps some salty language from the coxswains.
Coolidge Park: Though most of the racing action will be along the south shore of the river, the teams warm up as they row upstream to the start along the north shore.
Source: Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau