The 50th annual Head of the Charles regatta is expected to draw thousands of athletes and spectators to Cambridge and Boston Saturday and Sunday — meaning you may need to rethink your travel plans.
Memorial Drive is closed between Eliot Bridge and Western Avenue Saturday and Sunday. JFK Boulevard will remain open, but drivers will not be allowed to turn onto Memorial Drive.
Bill Hickey, with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, says the best option for people going to the big event is to leave the car at home.
"You certainly can go in by car, but public transportation's strongly encouraged. It's a big event, you're gonna get about half a million people out there," he said.
The two-day competition will draw in nearly 11,000 athletes from 32 countries and more than 400,000 spectators, reports the Associated Press.
Competitors in the regatta race on a three-mile course in the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston. Racing against the clock, the athletes leave the starting line in single file, approximately 15 seconds apart.
The race attracts youth, collegiate, masters, international, world champion and Olympic athletes participating in 61 events.
In one weekend, the race is expected to generate at least $54 million in Massachusetts' economy. Organizers say the regatta has generated at least $1 billion to the local economy in 50 years.
With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and the Associated Press.