For the 13th year, the Head of the Hooch returns to Chattanooga on Saturday November 4th and Sunday November 5th.

The event is hosted by the Atlanta Rowing Club and is one of the world’s largest rowing regattas in the world. This weekend there will be teams of rowers from across the country and from around the world.

This is a head race, or a time trial race meaning there won’t be boats racing side-by-side, instead about every 30 seconds another team will leave the start line. It’s their time when the cross the finish line will determine how they place. Participants will row 3.1 miles down the Tennessee River, ending at Ross's Landing Park.

The water sport has grown in popularity in recent years and so has the event in the Scenic City. However, it didn’t start in Tennessee, the regatta began in 1982 in Roswell, Georgia on the Chattahoochee River and then later moved to Gainesville. Then, in 2005 it moved to Chattanooga and has continued to grow each year.

More than 9,000 participants are registered for this year’s regatta. The event brings together more than 2,000 boats over the two-day period, with 1,200 boats expected on Saturday alone and another 900 on Sunday.

The Head of the Hooch event is also a big boost for the local economy in the Scenic City. Chattanooga's Sports and Events Committee estimates the weekend will bring in about five million dollars to the city.

This will mark the 35th Head of the Hooch, and the 13th in Chattanooga. Regatta Director, Daniel Wolff said the Scenic City is an ideal venue for the sport.

 “The location here is amazing because it’s right in the downtown area of a fantastic city. Our rowers come here, park their car and go to the hotel, to the venue, to the restaurants, to the shops and just enjoy being here,” Wolff said.

In light of recent attacks around the world, security is top of mind for many. Wolff said more security will be on hand and they are working with local law enforcement to keep the event safe.

“The Chattanooga Police Department asked us to install water barriers to make sure no truck, car or anything like that can come into the venue,” Wolff said.

CPD said they have numerous officers assigned to the event and the entire downtown waterfront area. They want anyone who sees something suspicious to say something to a police officer. A spokesperson said it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings and if there's something that's suspicious, makes you uncomfortable, or doesn't seem quite right please approach an officer and let him or her have the opportunity to check it out.  

There will also be some traffic changes and closures to accommodate the event.

  • Riverfront Parkway will be closed from Molly Lane to Aquarium Way. 
  • The Veterans Bridge ramp will also be closed, as will Chestnut St. and Power Alley from Aquarium Way to Riverfront Pkwy.
  • Listed roads will close on 10:00 am on Wednesday, November 1st and will be re-opened at 8:00 pm on Sunday, November 5th.