Our History

Our History

The Charleston Sternwheel Regatta is a making a return to the Capital City after a 12 year hiatus. The much loved five day river and music festival features national music performances, carnival rides, kids activities, food and more.

Nelson Jones, Regatta Founder

8/2/1957 – 7/25/2010


At age 13, Nelson Jones mentioned the idea of a sternwheel race to his surrogate mother, Henny Cook, executive secretary to then Mayor John Hutchinson. Cook encouraged him to present the idea to the Mayor.

On September 5, 1971, Jones corralled five sternwheelers and launched the Regatta.

Thousands lined the banks to watch the majestic sternwheelers parade up and down the river.

Charleston Regatta Commission

Alisa Bailey, President
Andy Richardson, Vice President
Terrell Ellis, Secretary
Joshua Scott, Treasurer

Councilman Brent Burton
Councilwoman Becky Ceperley
Dr. Michelle Foster
Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin
Councilwoman Mary Beth Hoover
Bryan Hughes
Rich Katz
Dr. Elisha Lewis
Commissioner Ben Salango
Jonathan Storage