Since 1965, rowing fans and athletes have been gathering along the banks of the iconic Charles River for the annual Head of the Charles Regatta. Now in its 57th year, the world’s largest event of its kind returns October 21–23 to delight spectators in Boston and Cambridge, from its starting point at the Boston University DeWolfe Boathouse to the finish line 4,702 meters upstream at Herter Park. Popular spots to watch include the many bridges criss-crossing the waterway—including the always-packed Weeks Footbridge that connects Cambridge’s Harvard Square to Boston’s Allston neighborhood—and the handful of hospitality areas that cater to both crew fanatics and casual observers alike. Among these hot spots are the Weld Exhibition at Riverbend Park, a bustling destination for food and beverage; Reunion Village, a fun and relaxed locale at the halfway point of the race; the Eliot Bridge Enclosure, a premium spot near the finish line offering distinctive dining, craft beer and fine wine; and the Attager Row Rowing and Fitness Expo, a great spot to mingle while browsing the latest rowing equipment and Regatta merch. As for the competition itself, visitors can take in 72 races stretching from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon in a variety of men’s and women’s categories and age groups, from singles to eights. In this sports-crazed town, this is one grand contest that rivals anything on the packed athletic calendar.