Philadelphia welcomes back, in full force, the beloved Dad Vail Regatta

The Dad Vail Regatta returns to Philadelphia in full force. The longtime event is celebrating 83 years and the city is excited to participate in the festivities after the pandemic.

The mighty Schuylkill River shows no mercy as rowers from all across the nation converge in Philly for the country’s largest collegiate regatta, the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta.

Young Addi and her dad drove all the way to Philadelphia from Dallas, Texas to root for their son and brother, competing as a coxswain for Loyola, Maryland.


Addi says Philly is the best. "I really like the food and it’s fun to walk around the city and come here and watch my brother."

That’s something she, nor anyone could do in the past two years, because of COVID-19. Last year’s event was a third of the size and had no spectators.

This time, business is booming for vendors.

"It’s awesome! It’s my first time, but this company has been here for many years. We do very well here. People are very excited to buy the merchandise and we’re already running out of things and we have another day tomorrow," remarked vendor Art Fraiser.

More than 100 colleges are in Philly competing, including hometown favorite La Salle.

Madeline Fawcett’s brother rows for the Explorers and she says it’s not only great to see them back, but performing well. "Oh, it’s absolutely awesome! We haven’t been at a big regatta in two years, so it’s great to see the team really come out and do as well as we’re doing, so it’s very exciting!"

So far, that meant first place finished for her brother and his team.

Of course, Kelly Drive will be closed, as well as roads nearby, but what’s the rush when anyone can see, first-hand, the world’s largest regatta?

"You gotta just wander. There’s all kinds of things to see!" exclaimed Fawcett.