CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s  one week out from the third year return of the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta and the busiest week of preparations for the popular event revitalizing a longstanding tradition.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said while this is the busiest week of prepping for the five-day event that kicks off on Wednesday, July 3, she said planning for this year truly started at the end of last year’s Regatta.

She said but it’s certainly boots on the ground now for the city in getting ready to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people coming in for the event.

Amy Shuler Goodwin

“We have all of our city employees out working, we have our committee members, our volunteers, lots of training going on this week for folks,” Goodwin said. “You know when you host 225,000 people in the city over a five day period, there’s a lot of preparation, a lot planning that goes into play.”

Last year, the Regatta brought in 225,000 people and a $37.2 million economic impact.

Goodwin said in this third year return of the Regatta after bringing it back in 2022, the focus is on tweaking the aspects that they know could be improved such as event operations, finetuning the staging or traffic entrances and exits, etc.

She said it has also been about expansion going into the third year.

Goodwin said when the Regatta first started in 1970 and lasted through 2009, it was mainly centered on the Kanawha Boulevard area, but she said this time around, her administration has focused on expanding its footprint across the entire Capital City.

And she said third time is a charm with getting the event right.

“I think any program, or event or policy that you start or implement, you know, the first year works out okay, not too bad, but you make some mistakes along the way, the second year you correct them and then the third year you’re really trying to fine-tune them,” she said.

Goodwin said this year the Kids Zone has moved to City Center Slack Plaza.

She said they wanted to keep a lot of the Regatta’s traditional events such as the Funeral Parade or the Weiner Dog Races, but they have also added many new events as well such as the BMX and skate boarding competition and one that turned out to be a huge event– the Sternwheel Slamboree.

Goodwin said while the Regatta is about coming together for a week of fun and community, it’s also a way to put the city on the map for all of the visitors coming in.

“What is exciting for me is to welcome so many people to our Capital City and nothing pleases a mayor more than to be able to show off all of the wonderful things that we have here in Charleston, West Virginia,” said Goodwin.

The Regatta takes places Wed, July 3- Sun., July 7. You can find the full schedule of Regatta events here.

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