RESIDENTS will be covered in mud as they pull their hardest to be tug-of-war champions as part of a weekend of water-based activities.

The Manningtree Regatta is returning with a splash to the town for visitors to enjoy a mixture of land and river-based activities this weekend.

The event starts with sailing races which will take place from close to the regatta’s Quay Street base from noon on Saturday.

Throughout the rest of the day visitors will be able to enjoy a mobile petting zoo between 10.30am and 12.30pm, children can take part in a drawing competition between 11.30am and 1.30pm, and there will be a regatta party for members and guests from 7.30pm.

A firework display will then light up the skies from 9.30pm before the mud events on Sunday.

Sunday will be kicking off with a mud race, tug of war competition, and children’s tug-of-war competition from 10am onwards. Sailing races start from 1pm with dinghies, classic boats and cruisers setting sail throughout the day before prizes are awarded at 5pm.

Stephen Hopkins, of the Stour Sailing Club Regatta sub-committee which organises the event, said there should be more than 600 people involved.

He said: “There are new events for children this year, a round the town quiz, a drawing competition on the beach and a mini zoo in the marquee on Saturday.

“The Manningtree Business Chamber have arranged for an Italian Market and Vintage and Collectables market to take place in the town and along the Walls on Saturday.

“The biggest overall attractions are the firework display that takes place in front of the Sailing Club on Saturday evening and the ever popular mud races and mud tug-of-war on Sunday morning.

He added: “It is a great weekend for families.”