The first weekend of November is upon us and that means The Head of the Hooch is in town. The popular regatta is held every year on the riverfront in Chattanooga.
As crews rig their boats and tents are being stocked, the sidewalks remain uncrowded. All this changes tomorrow morning. Assistant Race Director Doug Beville says, "The Head of the Hooch has become known as a championship race for all teams in their fall season so to get a medal here is highly coveted".
Known as the Last of the Great Regattas, The Head of the Hooch started thirty two years ago on the Chattahootchee River in Roswell, Georgia. It moved to Chattanooga after outgrowing the other venues nine years ago. "We have high school teams, college teams and masters level teams. Everybody competing from one sight and the energy you get from 10,000 competitors from that one sight is something that is very dynamic. I hope everybody can share that," Belville says.
The event attracts more than 2,048 boats and almost 200 crews from all over the world. It will have a king size economic impact on Chattanooga. "For the community it's grown a lot. It's gone from being a one and a half day regatta to a full two day regatta. We now have people coming into town staying for two and three nights and the economic impact for Chattanooga will exceed 5 million dollars", Doug said.
The three and a half mile race travels close to the southern shore of the river. Any place along the Riverwalk will be a good place to see boats. The excitement builds at the Ross' Landing finish as announcers tell what is happening.
It's a popular race for the rowers, as well. Alex Ware with the Lyman Rowing Association out of Orlando, Florida says,"The last 500 meters itself has grandstands right there. People can watch and cheer you on and you can hear them if your listening. Sometimes we block it out. Basically, you're surrounded by this great architecture of downtown Chattanooga and that's something that you don't see in other venues".
All of this combines to make downtown Chattanooga a perfect match for rowers and spectators alike. The regatta goes through Sunday afternoon.
AP Photo NYBZ150 Eds: Updates with more details and background. With AP Photos. By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest since early 2012. ...
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