A Spectator’s Guide to the Stotesbury Cup Regatta
The Stotesbury Cup Regatta is the oldest and largest high school regatta in the United States, held annually since 1927. It takes place on Friday and Saturday of the third weekend in May. This year’s Stotesbury Cup Regatta will be held on May 20 & 21, 2016.
The Stotesbury Cup Regatta takes place on Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River two miles north of Boathouse Row along Kelly Drive. Running parallel to the Schuylkill River, Kelly Drive is one of the city’s main rush-hour traffic arteries and is closed during regatta days. Traffic is detoured through Fairmount Park.
- If you drive, plan on parking your vehicle in the lots on the plateau above the racecourse in Fairmount Park. Once on Kelly Drive, there will be signs posted to the parking areas. Shuttle buses will pick you up and return you to the parking areas, which are minutes from the racecourse and Athlete’s Village. Look under Travel & Maps for details.
- If you walk from Center City, follow the road to the right side of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- If you take public transportation, SEPTA Routes 32 and 38 go to the Art Museum.
- From the Art Museum, proceed outbound on Kelly Drive to the traffic light at Lloyd Hall and Waterworks Drive. You can catch the shuttle bus to the racecourse there.
Most parking will be on the plateau overlooking Kelly Drive and the Schuylkill River. Several ways to get from the parking area down to the regatta venue:
- Shuttle bus service is available to and from this area. Details below.
- It is a short walk down Fountain Green Drive from the parking area to the riverfront.
- Ormiston Trail takes you thru the woods down to the regatta venue. The 1/2 mile trail is in very good condition and suitable for young children and adults. Look for the balloons that mark the head of the trail at Reservoir Drive and Randolph Drive.
Shuttle buses provide free rides for regatta fans and spectators from Boathouse Row and the parking areas to the race course area. They will run about every 15 to 20 minutes on both Friday and Saturday.
The shuttle buses will be marked “Stotesbury Cup Regatta”.
The Race Course
The 1500 meters race course start line is just north of Strawberry Mansion bridge. The finish line is just above the Columbia Railroad Bridge, with adjacent grandstands for viewing.
Head-style time trials for all events will be held on Friday. Semi-finals will run on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Finals will run on Saturday afternoon.
Time trials start at 8:00 am Friday and go to approximately 3:00 pm. After an hour break to set stakeboats, semi-finals run until around 6:00 pm Friday. Semi-finals continue Saturday morning, starting at 8:00 am. Finals begin at 1 pm and the last race of the day is at 5:20 pm on Saturday.
Race schedules will be posted online the week of May 9 and updated after heats for the semi-finals and finals.
Results will be published on our Web site a few minutes after the end of each race.
Family, friends, and spectators are welcome to enjoy the regatta at no cost. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are also welcome.
Best Place to Watch the Races
The centrally located Kelly Statue and grandstands at the finish line are the best places to see the excitement. The starting line is also very exciting; the walking path along Kelly Drive will take you to the starting line.
There will be lots of walking, so wear good walking shoes or bring a bike. Please don’t walk in the street, as vehicles and shuttle buses use it. We’ll have golf carts available to assist the elderly and disabled in getting around. Please – no unauthorized golf carts.
You’ll find a great selection of food and beverages, including Philly favorites like cheese steaks and hoagies. Whether you need a quick snack, a hearty lunch, or a refreshing beverage, you’ll find it at the Athlete’s Village at Three Angels, about 1/4 mile downstream of the finish line.
Athlete’s Village and Launch Area
Here rowers congregate, weigh-in, eat, relax, and await their turn to race. More than 20 vendors line the sidewalk selling goods to rowers and spectators.
There are a limited number of parking spaces reserved for handicapped spectators. To use these spots you must have a Stotesbury Cup parking pass and a state-issued handicapped license. Once you pass through the police barricades at Strawberry Mansion bridge and park in the reserved handicapped spots, make sure both your Stotesbury Cup parking pass and your state-issued handicapped parking tag are visible. We also have golf carts available to help transport you to the viewing area; talk to the personnel at the police barricades at Strawberry Mansion bridge when you first arrive for arrangements.
Contact Bonnie Mueller at least 10 days prior to the regatta to discuss any handicapped parking concerns you may have.
Stotesbury Cup Regatta’s Green Policy
The Stotesbury Cup Regatta fully supports the efforts and directions of the Philadelphia Water Department and Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation to eliminate floatable trash on our stretch of the Schuylkill River and to bring Philadelphia closer to our shared goal of being the greenest city possible. To this end, the regatta staff asks all competitors and spectators to make an extra effort to keep water bottles and litter of all sorts out of the Schuylkill River and in proper receptacles. Thank you for your cooperation and help with this important effort.
Please also note that smoking is not permitted anywhere in Fairmount Park.