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All hands on deck for the Kingswear Regatta

Sculling & scoffing seem to be the main occupations at the annual Kingswear Regatta in the South Hams, an event that mixes serious rowing with fun events.
Frantic training of local rowing teams up and down the River Dart is a sure sign that the Kingswear Regatta is imminent! This local fun event includes two days of rowing races and land-based entertainment on the last weekend in June.

Olympic rower is a Kingswear resident!

No doubt coached by World Champion and Olympic Rower , the Kingswear Rowing Club has a high standard to measure up to! Bill grew up in Kingswear and joined the Kingswear Rowing Club when he was just 14, back in 2002. He took part in the London 2012 Olympics and finished fifth in the double sculls.

is a small town just across the River Dart from and a short drive from , for those staying in the Torbay area. It has a strong local community spirit which you are sure to notice if you pop down for the Regatta. Most of the weekend’s events are held in Jubilee Park or around Waterhead Creek, so you need to turn off the B3205 before you get into the town itself and follow the signs.

Kingswear Regatta is a local fundraiser

As well as being a fun event, the aims to raise money for local charities such as the Dartmouth RNLI. It has raised over £23,000 over the past few years, so come prepared to be generous!

The heats for the various classes all take place on the Creek, a calm tidal inlet, starting around 9am on Saturday morning. You can watch the heats, cheer the youngsters and wave flags to support them from the banks! There are races for everyone, from young to old, and from serious to fancy dress events. The more serious finals and the invitation races take place on the Sunday.

Dog show, car show and dunk tank!

In between the exciting heats, there are plenty of attractions and distractions! There is usually a gathering of vintage and veteran cars on display, gleaming like new from engine to exhaust. The Dog Show starts at noon with an agility display which everyone enjoys.

There are four classes and you can enter on the day. Choose from Agility, Obedience, Cutest or Naughtiest Puppy under One Year Old, or the Dog-Most-Like-Its-Owner Class. Surely no-one wants to win that! Owners under the age of 12 can enter with their dog in the Best Fancy Dress Class. If your dog needs a little help to look its best, there’s a mobile dog groomer on site!

On Saturday afternoon, the action moves to Jubilee Park for live music and entertainment. There are plenty of stalls, games and family fun along with a barbecue, licensed bar, cream teas by the Women’s’ Institute and delicious Devon lamb roasted on a huge spit. Dessert has to be an ice cream from .

Sunday morning sees the finals of the Regatta pushing off and locking oars at 9:30am. Join the Duck Race by paying for a plastic numbered duck. Often there are over 1000 ducks launched into the river. The winning duck number is announced by the Town Crier. The winner gets a “quacking” cash prize!

Afternoon entertainment usually includes demonstrations by local clubs such as Junior Taekwondo and Adult Fencing. Musical performances from the local Junior School and a Punch and Judy Show hold youngsters’ attention. Be careful what you put your hand up for, as there is a dunk tank in operation, and people often pay to have their family, friends and bosses dunked, fully clothed!

The final Regatta prizegiving takes place back at the Village Hall, followed by a post-regatta party and knees up at .

Kingswear is a delightful town off-the-beaten-track in South Hams. Have you ever visited or attended the Regatta? We’d love you to add your local knowledge in the comments box below. Do share…

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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