Sunday Brunch By the Bay

Sunday brunch by the bay 2

A San Diego Crew Classic Tradition

One weekend a year in early Spring, Crown Point on Mission Bay becomes a hive of activity. Hundreds of boats and oars, in addition to thousands of athletes and their many supporters, line the beach as the much-anticipated San Diego Crew Classic takes shape. This annual event, taking place this year April 5 through the April, is one of the largest regattas in the country and includes three days of racing, vendors, food trucks, a large outdoor beer garden, and the favorite place to meet and greet: the Sunday Brunch By the Bay. For those in the rowing world, “the Rowing Season Starts Here!”

Twenty-nine years ago, San Diego’s Jane Fetter and friends, active in the social and philanthropic circles of the city, began a tradition to celebrate the event sponsors, donors, and the who’s-who of the Southern California rowing community. Committee members gathered for weeks in advance to design and plan a signature event for the final day of the regatta. The Sunday Brunch always begins as the first races leave the starting line and concludes in the early afternoon upon the completion of the marquee collegiate races. A gourmet brunch and the opportunity to visit with friends and rowing acquaintances on the banks of Crown Point have become a well-loved hallmark of the Crew Classic.

The brunch has taken many forms based on the theme of the year, but the basics have never varied: great food, a champagne and cocktail bar, an espresso bar with hand-crafted coffee drinks, and ladies in smart casual outfits and men in spring, racing-blazer attire. Part of the allure of the event includes hobnobbing with rowing Olympians – past and present – sprinkled among the brunch-goers and seated with brunch guests.

Trophies are an adjacent tradition at the Crew Classic. San Diego’s community leaders and rowing aficionados, many of whom are major supporters of the event, have trophies in their names, and enjoy presenting their trophies to the winning crews year after year. Located next to the brunch tent, the trophy stage provides yet another opportunity for San Diego’s finest to meet and greet some of the best collegiate, masters and high-school rowers from across the country and around the world.

2024 will be the 51st running of the Crew Classic and it will be yet another lovely celebration. Sunday, April 7th at 7:00 a.m., volunteers will open the tent to greet brunch guests. Beginning with coffee and sweet treats, the festivities go into full swing around 9:30 a.m. when the caterers present the brunch and the bar opens at 10:00 a.m. For the second consecutive year, Orsika Barabas with Crown Point Catering will be cooking up a feast and serving the champagne as well as a unique, San Diego Crew Classic signature cocktail. Phil and Dave Arcidiacono with Arcidiacono Caffe will be preparing made-to order espresso favorites. Conversations are lively as friends – old and new – greet one another at this time-honored event.

Viewing the races from under the big white tent or on the lawn, strategically placed at the finish line, is a treat for all ages. The Considines and Copleys, amongst others, enjoy bringing two and three generations of family members to brunch, and include them in their trophy presentations. Many family members have been attending since both the regatta and the brunch began. If you are in San Diego April 5-7, give yourself a treat and join the excitement on Crown Point!


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Esteban Villanueva