It seems like fall doesn’t really begin in the Boston area until the annual Head of the Charles Regatta October 18 and 19. The largest two-day rowing event in the world, this beloved tradition brings together thousands of athletes and hundreds of thousands of rowing fans to one of the sport’s most iconic venues, the Charles River. Teams of various skill levels—including local collegiate teams from Boston University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—race along the winding, three-mile course while the crowds cheer them on. In celebration of the landmark 50th competition, there’s also a gala on October 18 from 6–9:30 p.m. at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School near the Cambridge Boat House and a special history exhibit near the finish line on the Boston side, along with the usual food vendors and rowing and fitness expo that line the banks of the Charles River. For more information, visit hocr.org.