ANTICIPATION is building towards one of the busiest summer weekends in Marlow for years, with police stepping up patrols as thousands pour in for the Regatta and England's first World Cup game.
With warm, dry weather forecast, Marlow’s biggest social event is set to glitter in the sunshine as Sir Steve Redgrave gets the Town Regatta underway tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, pubs are gearing up for an influx of fans when England kick off their World Cup campaign against Italy in Brazil late on Saturday night.
To reassure residents, police are stepping up patrols in Marlow to deal with the possibility of anti-social behaviour.
In the past, officers have had to deal with yobbish and violent behaviour, with police pelted with bottles thrown by drunken thugs in 2009 when they made 20 arrests.
This year, officers insist they have no intelligence of any troublemakers heading for the town are not planning a surveillance operation at Marlow Station as in previous years.
Ch Insp Colin Seaton, Deputy Area Commander, said: "We are doing everything we can to ensure that those who live and visit Marlow during the regatta have a safe and enjoyable time.
"Police officers will be carrying out additional patrols to make sure people who are visiting the town during the weekend are behaving responsibly and not causing a nuisance of themselves.
"We will be working with our partners to minimise any disruption to local residents which might be caused by the event."
Police will also be tweeting regular updates about the Regatta, the policing operation and details of train times and any traffic congestion.
The 14th annual Town Regatta is heading towards a complete sell out, with a bigger enclosure than ever before ready to welcome over 7000 sartorially suave revellers over the two days.
Regatta organiser Lance Slater, who was in the crowd when England lifted the World Cup at Wembley in 1966, said: "Preparations are going incredibly well, and matching the fabulous weather we have inherited in the last few days.
"All the picnic sites have sold out and badge sales are going extremely well. I heard on Monday morning there was a queue outside the tourist office to buy badges.
"We’re delighted, it means the public are looking forward to what continues to be the biggest social event in Marlow’s calendar.
"The England game doesn’t start until late at night, so there’s a long day before that to thoroughly enjoy."
With the football kicking off at 11pm, Marlow’s pubs will be ringing the tills into the early hours during a nationwide licence extension.
Landlord Mick Kellas of the Cross Keys says preparation is the key to ensuring safety and preventing any troublemakers spoiling the night for others.
And the publican says he is looking forward to a packed house as Regatta revellers turn their attention to the game as night falls.
He said: "Four years ago we had the football starting at 7pm and we were mobbed - in the garden, the pub, everywhere, and that was a fantastic day.
"This year it’s at 11pm so it always has the possibility to be troublesome, so we have to put measures in place just in case you get 2000 people spilling out of the park having been drinking since 11 or 12 in the morning. That is a long time.
"We are prepared, and we are going to be packed. We’ve got all the England flags up and it’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere.
"I am hoping that by nine we’re full with the doors closed and everyone’s in and seated comfortably. It should be an incredible night."
However, fellow landlord John Ashton of O’Donaghues on Spittal Street said he is shutting up shop again this year to avoid any problems with overcrowding and underage drinkers.
He said: "We tried it the first year we were here and it was just mayhem, lots of kids trying to get in, it was a joke really. We will be going down to the Regatta and being civilised.
"So we won’t be showing the England match, but we are showing the rest of the World Cup, and it’s going to be great, we’re all really excited."
Saturday’s ticket-only Regatta event in Higginson Park features a full programme of races organised by Marlow Rowing Club.
And Sunday’s free festivities see the return of the popular dragon boat racing as well as a funfair andlive music and dance performances throughout the day.