Goring and Streatley Regatta and River Festival – Saturday 20 July
With a festival element this year, Goring and Streatley Regatta offers a brilliant day out for everyone. Andrew Blit finds out more
Summer regattas are among the highlights of the rowing year. Around 2,000 people descend on Goring and Streatley Regatta and River Festival with the rowing taking centre-stage in an event that includes activities and entertainment for everyone of all ages.
The river festival is for one and all with the strapline ‘recreational rowing for the community’. The full “village fete” style regatta takes place every two years with a rowing-only version in between.
So how do the event organisers involve the local community?
There is a big volunteer community behind the day, including the local scout group, families of members and the local band, Goring Unplugged, who always pull an audience in right from the first song.
It turned out to be the most fantastic and fun day we had all had in a long time
Local businesses are invited to exhibit their services and have the chance to compete in the racing, if they want to. Businesses who want to race as well as show their wares get to have four training sessions per crew before the regatta and every crew gets to race at least twice.
“We were all so nervous,” says former participant Joanna Gardner, “as none of us had ever rowed before, let alone entered a regatta. It turned out to be the most fantastic and fun day we had all had in a long time.”
The big focus for this year will be on children – under-16s will go free – and there will be Baby Dragon Boat Racing and a Crafty Raft Race. Only one adult is allowed for the Crafty Raft Race with each team of five bringing all the equipment and materials needed to build their raft. The rafts race four at a time over a 100m course.
There will also be a climbing wall, face-painting stand, and stalls will sell gifts, fashion, second-hand books and garden plants.
If rowing isn’t your thing you can just enjoy everything else the day has to offer
Jessica Fowler looks after publicity for GGBC and says: “It is a lot of hard work to pull it off, but in the days leading up to the regatta and the day itself there is just a great buzz.
“We really are like bees around a hive with everyone – volunteers and visitors alike – having a great time in an environment where people can take part in rowing, no matter their experience, which means we are truly inclusive.
“Plus, with so much else to do, if rowing isn’t your thing you can just kick back and enjoy everything else the day has to offer.”
Find out more about Goring and Streatley Regatta and River Festival here.
This article was originally published in Rowing & Regatta. Find out how to subscribe here.