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Henley-on-Todd Regatta

By Viator, April 2011

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Each year with the onset of spring, the anticipation builds as an event unique to Alice Springs approaches: the world’s first and only waterless regatta. Held in the sandy bed of the Todd River, which rarely sees so much as a trickle of moisture, the 'boats' in this regatta are metal frames hung with banners, bathtubs, and trucks outfitted with flour bombs and water cannon.

Alice’s regatta began in 1962 and was modeled after England’s famously stuffy Henley-on-Thames event, with one key difference – Alice Springs is over 900 miles (1,500km) from the nearest decent-sized body of water.

The multiple races attract local and international participants, and the good-humored celebration lasts all day. The final race features teams on trucks, and bystanders should note that the water cannon is far from a precision weapon and collateral damage has been known to occur.

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