If you happen to be in the Charleston area around Labor Day, you have to check out the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta. A regatta is normally just a boat race, but the Charleston Regatta is more like a parade and a celebration of Charleston itself. Each year, thousands of people line Kanawha Boulevard to celebrate the official ending of the Summertime by watching boats pass by. Nationally recognized musical acts are featured often, including Jodee Messina and the band Puddle of Mudd, who performed at the 2008 Regatta.
Of course, the Charleston Regatta is more than just a boat race/parade, it also is occasion for the city to host several other smaller events within the main event. A popular activity during the Regatta is the Charleston Distance Run and Walk, a 15 mile race that is almost as old a tradition as the Regatta itself.
Everyone gets into the spirit of things during the Charleston Regatta, including the epicureans. The Taste of Charleston event offers residents the chance to sample all the wonderful gourmet food that the area has to offer. Over 30 different restaurants offer patrons a sample taste of their signature dishes. Up to 1,000 people at a time can be found at the Charleston Civic Center enjoying the Taste of Charleston, just a quick jaunt away from the main festivities of the Regatta.
Even the events within the Regatta feature their own mini-events. During the Taste of Charleston, live musical acts share the spotlight with a daily jitterbug dancing competition. Children aren’t left out of the mix, either, as there is even a section specifically for children, both with food and activities for them to enjoy.
Local artists, craft booths for the kids, vendors from all over the state, and a general atmosphere of mirth and merriment abound at the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta. There are events for everyone to enjoy, no matter what they like, whether it be the various musical acts, games for kids, hot air balloons, and even footraces. Of course, there are also boats to be seen as they find their way on down the river.
The Regatta is one of the area’s most anticipated and well organized events. Plans are already underway for the 2009 Regatta celebration along the banks of the Kanawha River. These end of Summer festivities are sure to entertain and delight your whole family y ear after year after year.