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Crowds Gather for Regatta

Thousands of Visitors Enjoy Weather, Food, Competition

By Malka A. Older

Bright sunshine, the scents of hot dogs and crepes and a mini-J. Crew store brought out the crowds to the annual Head of the Charles Regatta yesterday.

The day-long event featured races among more than 1,000 crews from colleges and high schools around the country. An estimated crowd of more than 200,000 turned out to watch the day of races.

For many, like Jeff P. Uhas, a first-year at Boston College, it was their first time at the event.

"It's been lots of fun," said Uhas, who came to the Head of the Charles because he'd heard it was "an experience not to be missed."

Other spectators watched family or friends compete in the races. Ira D. Goldberg traveled from Oakland, California, with his family to watch his daughter compete as coxswain for the University of Pennsylvania.

Enjoying some Mexican food after their race, Deirdre M. Frey and Hilary B. Cox of the Cornell crew agreed that while the results of the race are important, the Head of the Charles is a fun event for the participants as well.

"It's not as important as the spring [races] because this is our first race," said Cox. "We know we have to race these people in the spring, but we've never gone up against them before, so we're just checking them out."

Josh T. Kaveney, a Medford resident who found a comfortable seat on the back of the trailer holding the electronic scoreboard, said he came because he wanted something to do on Sunday.

Kaveney, who graduated from Northeastern University last year, said that he came for a good time rather than for the sporting event, although he was hoping that his alma mater would do well.

Katsuya Baba, a first-year Harvard Business School student from Tokyo, came to the regatta because he had "heard it is a very famous race."

Although he is not familiar with the rules or the teams, "It's fun, it's very beautiful," Baba said.

D. Jason File, a Yale sophomore, drove up with some friends to enjoy the regatta and the parties.

"The crew is fun, but it's secondary," said File. "You never know who is winning--half the time you don't even know if you're watching your school."

But File said that he had a lot of friends on the crew team.

"I came last year too and it was just a lot of fun," he said.

Alfred E. Ryan, a Waltham resident, said that he came because "this is the only day of the year that college students use their 'sculls.'"

Harvard University police officer Terence A. Johns, who was stationed at the Weld Boathouse door, said. "It looks like most people are having a good time."

"It's been fairly peaceful," Johns said. "I am amazed."

Rocky Ficara, a magic performer from New York City, has been working at the Head of the Charles for 10 years.

"It's a great day for it," said Ficara, pulling a small red handkerchief out of thin air.

Jim P. McMullen of Waylend has been coming to the regatta for 12 years with friends to have a barbecue, watch the races and watch football on a portable TV.

McMullen said that his group did not cheer for any particular team but was there to just enjoy the event.

Retailers did a brisk business selling lemonade, ice cream, sardines, calling cards and fruit juices, from the many tents and pushcarts lining Memorial Drive.

The large J. Crew tent featured Head of the Charles insignia sweat-shirts, ties, baseball caps and boxer shorts.

John E. Spirko, sales manager for J. Crew, said that this is the second year the company has sponsored the event and that they had three tents up selling merchandise

But File said that he had a lot of friends on the crew team.

"I came last year too and it was just a lot of fun," he said.

Alfred E. Ryan, a Waltham resident, said that he came because "this is the only day of the year that college students use their 'sculls.'"

Harvard University police officer Terence A. Johns, who was stationed at the Weld Boathouse door, said. "It looks like most people are having a good time."

"It's been fairly peaceful," Johns said. "I am amazed."

Rocky Ficara, a magic performer from New York City, has been working at the Head of the Charles for 10 years.

"It's a great day for it," said Ficara, pulling a small red handkerchief out of thin air.

Jim P. McMullen of Waylend has been coming to the regatta for 12 years with friends to have a barbecue, watch the races and watch football on a portable TV.

McMullen said that his group did not cheer for any particular team but was there to just enjoy the event.

Retailers did a brisk business selling lemonade, ice cream, sardines, calling cards and fruit juices, from the many tents and pushcarts lining Memorial Drive.

The large J. Crew tent featured Head of the Charles insignia sweat-shirts, ties, baseball caps and boxer shorts.

John E. Spirko, sales manager for J. Crew, said that this is the second year the company has sponsored the event and that they had three tents up selling merchandise

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