What should I bring to a regatta?
Cash: $10 for shuttle, an extra $3 for mini shuttle (optional), extra for concessions
Good walking shoes
A cushion to sit on if you plan on sitting in the concrete amphitheater
A chair to sit on if you don’t plan to sit in the amphitheater
Umbrella or raincoat
A large water bottle
Snacks/food (or more cash for the concession stand)
A printed copy of the “heat sheet” (the list of races and times you’ll get access to)
Noisemakers or your cheering voice
What’s it like to attend a regatta as a spectator? Here’s what you need to know.
1. Drive to South County High School.
South County High School is at 8501 Silverbrook Rd, Lorton, VA 22079. Pass over Laurel Crest Drive. It’s a huge school. Don’t turn into the “official” entrance of the school (which will be on your left). You’ll drive down to Monacan Road and do a U-turn. Then pull into the first school entrance, which will put you into a parking lot. Find a place to park.
2. Get on the shuttle bus. Bring CASH.
There is a shuttle bus from the South County High School parking lot to the Sandy Run Regional Park, which is a reservoir/park area at the Occoquan River. You’ll have to pay $10 round trip for the bus. Rowers who are in uniform can ride for free. The bus runs throughout the day while the regatta is going on, but you might have to wait 20 minutes on each end, so plan accordingly.
If you forgot to get cash, you can drive back down Silverbrook Road to the intersection of Silverbrook and Lorton Road to the 7-11, where you’ll find a cash machine.
3. Get ready to hike.
When you get off the bus, you can walk or take a shuttle ATV down to the amphitheater. The “shuttle” is a four-seater, large-scale ATV that costs $3. Or, you can “walk” to the amphitheater. It’s more like a hike and it’s not handicapped-accessible. It’s a little rocky, there is some elevation, and depending on the conditions, it could be muddy or slippery. The hike is called the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. It felt like maybe 3/4 of a mile? So wear good shoes – no flipflops. The hike brings you to the amphitheater, which is right near the finish line. This is where the crowd gathers.
4. There are amenities!
There are restrooms (you may want to bring your own hand sanitizer), and also a concession stand. The concession stand has things like hotdogs, burgers, chips, candy, sodas, etc. The stand takes cash, Venmo, and PayPal (as of June 2021). But it’s easier to bring cash.
The grandstands are made of concrete, so bring a cushion if you’d like, and partially covered. If you expect rain or blazing hot sun, plan to arrive early to sit under the covering. Otherwise, bring an umbrella and plan accordingly. There are also benches near the water.
Your binoculars will come in handy, since the launch area is about one kilometer away (but the finish is way more exciting anyway).
5. The cell coverage is terrible.
Do not depend on your cell phone to tell you the race order, start times, results, or anything else. It’s honestly almost a useless device at a regatta, so if you’re trying to Zoom into a wedding, do work tasks, or scroll Twitter while you wait for your kid to race, you’re out of luck. So, print the “heat sheet” (mentioned above – it lists the races, schools, schedules, and times or races). Put your printed sheets into a plastic sleeve if you’re an overachiever.
If you do get cell coverage, follow @vasraresults on Twitter to see real-time results.
6. Cheer for the last boat.
Often, there’s a boat that doesn’t keep up with the pack in a heat or final. Those kids always get clapped into the finish line. It’s an awesome thing.
7. Share those photos!
Take a picture of your kid! Take a picture of his/her boat! And when you get back home, or at least to good cell coverage, follow our social media accounts and send your photos to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Don’t forget to tag #YorktownCrew:
Not on social media? Email your best photos to email@example.com.