St Neots Regatta weekend – 27-28 July

Held in the centre of town, St Neots Regatta is a highlight of the summer for both the rowers and the local community. Andrew Blit finds out more

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On the bank at St Neots Regatta (c) Sammi Sparke

St Neots Regatta is one of the classic high-summer weekend events in the East of England. Situated about 13 miles north-east of Bedford, St Neots Rowing Club is located on the picturesque River Great Ouse

Held in the centre of town, next to a long, wide stretch of grass – which gives a grandstand view of racing with the assembled crowd regaled by skilled, entertaining commentary.

At one regatta, a competitor was overheard to say: “You can tell people here understand rowers – this is a proper regatta.”

St Neots Regatta should be top of the list for anyone who likes to party as hard as they race

The event attracts crews from far and wide – St Petersburg University were particularly well-travelled visitors, as well as being improbably tall – but people come not just for the racing. The home-made cakes are invariably popular and the Sunday morning breakfast is an essential part of the weekend experience.

The substantial meadow means that rowers can come with their families, picnic, camp and stay for the Saturday night party.

This is all supported by the willing and friendly membership of the club who enjoy making their visitors welcome even at 7am on a Sunday morning after a hard night’s partying.

Supported also by detailed planning, and more planning, plus much promotion.

St Petersburg University were particularly well-travelled visitors, as well as being improbably tall

Club Chairman Trevor Rickwood says: “We promote the regatta as much as possible in local newspapers and community magazines, on local radio and using large banners in the town centre. We also invite event sponsors, who are given their own VIP area to watch the races.

“We want as many people as possible from the community to drop by, soak up the atmosphere (and hopefully some sun), and maybe even have their appetites whetted enough to try rowing themselves in the future.

“St Neots Regatta should be top of the list for anyone who likes to party as hard as they race. The whole town can’t fail to miss hundreds of people whooping, hollering, dancing and generally having a great Saturday evening at our regatta.”

Find out more about St Neots Regatta here.

This article was originally published in Rowing & Regatta. Find out how to subscribe here.