By Lisa Gresci

BOSTON (CBS) — A Boston tradition returns on Friday.

The Head Of The Charles Regatta will be held this weekend for the first time in two years after the race was canceled last year due to COVID.

“It feels like rowing is back in Boston,” said Ami Mehr, one of the event’s race directors. “There’s been so much energy from our entire group of volunteers and all of the athletes and everyone who makes this happen.”

Organizers and volunteers have been busy preparing for the big race, and this year, there will be an extra day of racing to fit even more events in. It runs from Friday through Sunday, with the first race kicking off at 8 a.m. on Friday.

“We added an extra day of racing so our volunteers don’t have such a long day on Saturday and Sunday,” said Natasha Strom, another one of the event’s race directors. “We are thrilled to be able to have a Regatta this year. It’s been a long two years, but we feel we are ready to have a safe and exciting, competitive race.”

The Head Of The Charles Regatta returns on Friday. (WBZ-TV)

The event will also have two beer gardens and special appearances from Olympic rowers.

“It’s probably the premier Regatta in the world, and if not the world, definitely the Northeast,” said past winner Maureen Harriman, who is aiming to win again this year. “So really looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends.”

Organizers partnered with Mass General Brigham to come up with COVID safety guidelines for the weekend. Outside of 2020, the only other time the regatta was canceled was 1996 due to a rain and wind storm.

About 11,000 athletes participate in the Head of the Charles each year and more than 1,800 volunteers work the event.

Lisa Gresci