Get Down to the Dad Vail Regatta

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Thousands of spectators will hit Kelly Drive Friday and Saturday to watch hundreds of rowers from colleges all over the U.S. and Canada take to the Schuylkill River for the Dad Vail Regatta.

This year marks the 72nd Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta.

The race, named in honor of early American crew coach Harry Emerson "Dad" Vail, moved here in 1953 "...because of the rowing resources available at Boat House Row and the University of Pennsylvania," said Dad Vail Organizing Commitee President Jim Hanna.

And spectators looking to enjoy a little competition (and hopefully some nice weather) aren't the only ones looking forward to Dad Vail. The city itself gets a pretty big economic boost from the event as well as reputation as one of the best places to row in the country. 

But enough with the history and finance lessons, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Delaware and Buffalo were last year's big winners and with the number of entries exceeding previous years, it's going to be a war on the river.

The schedule for the weekend is rigorous, leaving little time for the athletes to enjoy the city, but that doesn't mean you can't. When you've got some free time, head to the world-renowed Philadelphia Museum of Art or get some authentic Italian, South Philly-style at the Italian Market, plus there's tons of shopping and other great restaurants.

Whatever you choose to do, get plenty of sleep, the races start at 7 a.m. and we suggest you get up early (really early) -- Kelly Drive will be closed all day Friday and Saturday, creating a traffic nightmare and forcing more traffic on I-76.

Here are the basic details:
When: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.
Where: The starting line is just north of the Hunting Park Ave at the Kelly Drive. The course is 2,000 meters long (Olympic length). The best spot to watch is from the Grand Stand.
Admission is free.

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