Handcar Regatta

If you missed the first annual Handcar Regatta, I'm sorry to say that you missed one of Santa Rosa's coolest events...well...ever. Though the concept was a little hard to grasp for the uninitiated, if you've ever been to Burning Man you'll get it. Steam punkers, railway antiquity, costumes, stilt walkers, fantastic inventions, music, food and general merriment.


If you missed the first annual Handcar Regatta, I’m sorry to say that you missed one of Santa Rosa’s coolest events…well…ever. Though the concept was a little hard to grasp for the uninitiated, if you’ve ever been to Burning Man you’ll get it. Steam punkers, railway antiquity, costumes, stilt walkers, fantastic inventions, music, food and general merriment.

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16 thoughts on “Handcar Regatta

  1. A ragtag group of about eight neighbors from the Westend Area walked over to the HRR and had a great time. After it was over we started to walk back home and, since we already had a few beers, decided to stop at Starks for some apps and drinks. We arrived there just before 5 when the doors officially opened. We were dressed very “casually”. We weren’t sure how we would be greated by this “upscale” establishment.
    We asked the hostess if we could come in a little early and watch the football game on TV. Not a problem. The bartender was equally as gracious…so what if they weren’t open for another 10 minutes, he served us drinks all around and we were made to feel right at home. We asked if there was a dress code…he laughed (like, too late).
    The oysters were perfect, cold as could be with a nice mignet(spelling?) We all loved the roasted potato fondue. And the prawns were, how you say, to die for.
    We played around with the piano and were pretty boisterous but the staff seemed very okay with that.
    Because of the prices, it’s not someplace most people could go to on a regular basis, but it is absolutely someplace I would return to and I feel very fortunate that it is an option that is almost literally in my back yard.

  2. Hey that’s cool – I’m sure the locals were thrilled with the extra customers on what can otherwise be a slow time for restaurants (sunday afternoon). Have to also agree with the person who says give Toad in the Hole a break, there’s no way they could have anticipated the crowds for a first time event like this. Next year they’ll be ready.

  3. Well. . . I think I would give ALL of the merchants in Old Railroad Square a free pass on that day. It was pretty hectic for all, considering Toad in the Hole ALSO had a booth at the Regatta. They’re normally excellent at what they do, food-wise and customer service-wise. But I know how it is when you’ve been in the hot sun all day, and just want a bite to eat. No one even imagined it would be so hugely successful. It’s all very exciting!

  4. please bring it back next year! It was a great day and made me feel real proud to be a local. I LOVED all the crafty booths and the kids section was a big hit too.

  5. big d, we intentionally didn’t offer more choices because we wanted the neighbors to benefit from the event as well. Our intention was to provide a few choices that weren’t readily available in the area (like Lata’s amazing samosas) and then if it didn’t suit folks, they had the option of going to one of the nearby fabulous restaurants. We really did want the whole community to benefit from the event.

  6. In a word AWESOME! Great event, thanks so much to the organizers! We need MORE alternative art events up here. Great eclectic selection of live music too. Can’t wait for next year. Just a thought for next year, it would have been nice to have more food choices. We also wandered away and ate at a nearby restaurant because the onsite food didn’t look too appealing. Also how about a separate line to buy beer/wine tickets next to the beer/wine booth, so folks don’t have to wait in the long single food/bev line across the way?

  7. I wish that their were more events like this in RR Square. Much fun…just what our lil’ corner needed/needs!
    xo & Thank you.

  8. Great event…should be annual…If I can help in any
    way to making this an annual blowout, please contact me.
    Great for kids [young and old] to realize that imagination, creativity, and ingenuity are alive and well. Thanks to all.

  9. Great crowd and lots of fun. Also good to see so many people rode bicycles to get to Railroad Square – thanks to the Bicycle Coalition for free, secure parking, even if their space did get full!!

  10. You know what was really weird? I had a total deja vu to the previous weekend’s Treasure Island music festival — those neat wings were there, too! As were the Make magazine folks. Anyone a crazy fan of Make magazine? Very nifty.

  11. Heather, thanks for the nice review of the event. We do hope to do it again, for many years to come.
    I’m sorry that there was a spell there where people had to wait for a bit for tickets. Unfortunately, that was not under our jurisdiction but we did try to offer assistance and get the lines moving again.
    Hope to see you next year!

  12. It was fantastically outstanding!! The boost Santa Rosa has needed for a long, long time. This could be the event of the year. Hope they do it again next year. What a great day for all!

  13. Yes the event was very cool…BUT the long lines for food tickets made us head for a bite at Toad in the Hole, since we’ve loved their burgers and fish and chips in the past. Well that was the past…what a strike out. The quirky costumed owner sat outside chatting with passers-by as his staff of TWO unsuccessfully navigated a FULL house. The single server refused to acknowledge our requests for medium-rare burgers, instead repeating back to us “medium” (very odd, wouldn’t even address our confusion about this). 35 minutes later the burgers were delivered medium well. We were fans now we’re not.

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