Planning your summer holidays? Whitstable could be the perfect place to weigh anchor…
Hosted by the Whitstable and Herne Bay Lions Club, the annual Whitstable Regatta is possibly the oldest in the world, and returns this year for the 223rd time.
New events such as water-ski racing joining old favourites such as the ‘greasy pole’ and the flying display, before the weekend concludes in spectacular fashion with a firework display over the sea.
This year’s regatta, held on the 6th and 7th of August, will see this rich history will be explored by the East Kent Historical Organisation who will be on hand to bring history to life with an exciting historical reenactment.
The local lifeboat service will also be in attendance to perform a daring seaborne rescue (still part of the display, folks!) in order to raise awareness of their work and the importance of safety at sea.
With traditional games, music and fairground rides throughout the weekend, the Whitstable Regatta promises to be a fantastic weekend of fun for all the family.
History - The History of the World's Oldest Regatta
The inaugural Whitstable Regatta was held on the 7th of August 1792, and would have featured a programme of events that widely differed from, yet retained the same spirit as, this year’s festival.
The Regatta was taken over by the Whitstable Yacht Club in 1912 and over the years some truly wild events have proved popular favourites.
In the pre-war days the highlight of the day was the ‘bombing-run’, in which an aeroplane would fly low overhead and drop bags of flour on the beach, which would burst to dramatic effect.
Another popular combat-based event was the ‘Millers and Sweeps’, in which two seaborne vessels fought one another with soot and flour.
Other features of those early regattas remain staples of today’s festival: ‘Greasy Pole Walking’ between diving rafts has been popular.
Live music has long had a place at the regatta, featuring some fantastic acts over the years.
Perhaps most spectacularly, the fly-past has proved its enduring appeal, as ‘aeroplane displays’ have played a part at the festivities since the dawn of flight.
The Whitstable Regatta 2016 - This Year's Events
Saturday 6th August
The local Sea Cadets open proceedings at 11 am on Saturday morning (That’s 1100 hours in Sea Cadet parlance), after which registration opens for the dog show, so if any of your four-legged friends will be in attendance then make sure they’re looking their furry best!
Throughout the day Uncle Myles will be performing both a magic display and a Punch and Judy show for the little ones, whilst the Kent School of Performing Arts and the Swinging 60s Band will be providing entertainment for the grown-ups.
The day will also feature a fly-past by the Memorial Flight before culminating in the beachfront fireworks spectacular.
Sunday 7th August
Sunday features ‘Crazee Hazee’s Circus Skills’ workshop for kids, as well as displays by Owls About Town and the Bezerk Dancing School.
The air display this time will be provided by Trig Aerobatic Team, who will be performing some spectacular, death-defying maneuvers.
Sunday also sees the town regatta itself, the weekend’s not-to-be-missed centrepiece, which this year will see participation from a wide variety of boats and ships of all sizes.