Henley on Todd Regatta – August each Year

Henley on Todd Regatta

The race is held annually in the dry sandy bed of the Todd River

Henley on Todd Regatta (also called the Todd River Race) is a “boat” race held annually (normally the third Saturday in August) in the typically dry sandy bed of the Todd River in Alice Springs. It began and continues cautiously as a joke at the expense of the original British settlers and the formal atmosphere of the British river races which continue today.

Every year in the spring, around September, the town holds the Henley on Todd Regatta where large numbers of locals and tourists attend. Food and drink are sold at stalls, “no fishing” signs are put up, and the celebration takes all day. It is the only dry river regatta in the world; thus, it is the only regatta ever cancelled because of wet weather and there was actually water in the river. This happened in 1993, when the event was cancelled for the year due to flooding.

Henley on Todd Regatta

Boats are driven by teams armed with flour bombs and water cannons

“Boats” are made from metal frames and hung with banners and advertisements, and teams of “rowers” run their boats in races through the hot sand. Races are also held in washtubs, human-sized mouse wheels and at the final event, modified trucks decked out as boats are driven by teams armed with flour bombs and water cannon. Many bystanders end up as casualties of the final battle. Traditional Henley on Todd Regatta teams include Pirates and Vikings, complete with costumes. Who wins the final battle can be difficult to determine; even the announcers occasionally get a blast.

The Henley on Todd Regatta is run entirely by volunteers from the three Rotary Clubs in Alice Springs. Over the years well in excess of  a million dollars has been raised for local, national and international humanitarian projects.

“The Territory’s longest running iconic event!”

When – Third Saturday in August each Year

Henley on Todd Regatta

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Updated: December 21, 2015 by admin

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