Dad Vail Regatta Brings Rowers From Around the Country and Road Closure to Fairmount Park

The Dad Vail Regatta takes place Friday and Saturday on Philadelphia's Schuylkill River

What to Know

  • The annual Dad Vail Regatta takes place this weekend on Philadelphia's Schuylkill River.
  • The regatta brings thousands of collegiate athletes from around North America.
  • It also brings a road closure to busy Kelly Drive. We have the traffic info you need.

One of Philadelphia’s iconic sporting events, the 81st Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, takes over the Schuylkill River this weekend. With the return of the largest collegiate regatta in the United States comes a major road closure and detours through Fairmount Park that last until Saturday night.

Kelly Drive Closed:

The races began Friday at 7 a.m. but the road closure already took effect the day before. A 1.5-mile stretch of Kelly Drive from Strawberry Mansion Drive to Fountain Green Drive was closed Thursday morning.

The Kelly Drive closure allowed crews to get boats and other equipment to the river's edge. It continues until the regatta is over Saturday at 8 p.m. During that time only permitted vehicles can enter the regatta zone.

Cars will be detoured off the river drive and onto Reservoir Drive in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia officials said.

Going to the Regatta?

You can pay to access parking areas adjacent to Reservoir Drive. And, you can watch the action for FREE.

Here is the full racing schedule (weather permitting) with races happening throughout Friday and Saturday.

Public Transit for Spectators:

SEPTA's route 32 and 38 buses will drop passengers off near the Philadelphia Museum of Art where shuttle buses will be available, race organizers said.

Getting Around the Regatta:

The detour from Kelly Drive is posted but you can avoid the area entirely.

You can use the Schuylkill Expressway (Interstate 76) as an alternate route. Martin Luther King Drive, on the other side of the river, can be used Thursday and Friday. (It is closed for recreational use during the day Saturday.)

Regatta Fun Facts:

The regatta, established in 1934, is the largest collegiate rowing event in North America, drawing thousands of athletes from more than 100 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada, organizers said.

Come hungry as the regatta area includes a food court of Philly favorites like cheesesteaks and hoagies, organizers said.

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