High and dry but having a ball

p2266-Henley-battle-2By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

It was a Brexit that happened 55 years ago when the Henley on Thames regatta went half-way ’round the world to be staged as the Henley on Todd in a river without water.

 

This year the annual fixture will start a day early, with a concert tonight where the bottomless boats will be racing tomorrow, getting double the use of the venue, says spokeswoman for the organisers, Dale McIver.

 

The HOT, as it’s affectionally known, is run by Rotary, the only service organisation in town that has managed to maintain three clubs. The 70-odd members are getting a hand from a string of other clubs.

 

Starting with a parade from the council lawns at 10.30am tomorrow if you see any fully-grown men or women running around dressed as pirates complete with eye patches or Vikings wielding axes, don’t call the police.

 

Unlike the Olympics HOT is an audience participation event, if you’re keen on running, splashing, shovelling sand and generally enjoying your first, second or third childhood.

 

Real children will be competing as well, in egg-and-spoon events, three-legged races and rubber duckies floating in sand.

 

Usually about 4500 people are watching, and the day ends with a spectacular sea battle (photo) between three boats heavily armed with water cannons, flour bags and fire crackers.

 

 

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