Head of the Charles: festive two-day rowing event drawing thousands of crew-loving spectators, or corporate-sponsored carnival and glorified prep reunion with overpriced fried dough for the masses?
Once upon a time, Head of the Charles actually seems to have been somewhat fun: alcohol flowed freely along the banks of the Charles, and hordes of prep school grads descended on Cambridge to treat themselves to things quite unrelated to crew.
But now, for those of us unfamiliar (or uninterested) with the sport, the event's highlights tend to be limited to the candy corn, clam chowder, and free Nantucket Nectars samples lining the race. Alumni groups might have a better time, with the "Reunion Village" providing food and schmooze and selling beer and wine. Read more about this year's highlights after the jump.
This year's event promises to be even more exclusive than in the past: the "Eliot Bridge Enclosure," a "controlled-access hospitality tent" requiring either a $60 one-day pass or a $100 two-day pass, provides "early morning coffee and breakfast items and a delicious gourmet buffet luncheon including two gratis bar drink tickets." Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is reportedly providing this "distinctive dining experience."
FlyBy wonders if these new perks are related to Head of the Charles' financial issues—seems that entry fees and corporate sponsorship isn't cutting it anymore, and that donations will be needed to keep the regatta "thriving" for future generations. Jim Connelly, a spokesman for the event, said that some sponsorships have been scaled back from last year, but that "budget issues are not anything concerning."
All of this to say that FlyBy will probably still stop by, if for nothing else than to stock up on free goodies. (Yoga mats, anyone?) But with wintry temperatures and two snow/rain storms barreling towards the Northeast this weekend, even that may be a stretch.
Crimson/Karen G. Heredia