Ready for a rockin’ (and unrockin’) summer? Good times will soon be coming in waves. The Human Access Project (HAP) is hosting the Big Float Six, our sixth annual parade/river float/beach party on the Willamette River, downtown, on Sunday, July 10.
All proceeds benefit the Human Access Project. It’s a movement disguised as a party – a party of the people!
The growing popularity of The Big Float is evidence that the tide is turning for increasing human access to the Willamette River.
Last year, mayor Charlie Hales included $300,000 in the city budget to explore alternatives for downtown beaches. This year, mayor-elect Ted Wheeler signaled his interest in the river by swimming across it with our River Hugger Swim Team.
Citizens and city officials are seeing the value of embracing our river and “joining the riverlution.”
What’s new for Big Float Six?
Along with live music, food carts, a beer and wine garden, a kids activity area and chair massages, this year’s event will feature some new attractions. Two Dragon Boat inner-tube taxis powered by the Wasabi Dragon Boat team will be available. These two 20-person powered watercrafts will be able to tow as many as 10 weary inner-tubers at a time. It may be the world’s first Dragon Boat inner-tube taxi service.
Also this year we’ll have two 100-foot slip-n-slides on the grass at Tom McCall Bowl. All ages can partake. The Big Float Six will also feature two floating stages, so you can take in a concert while reclining in your inner-tube or watercraft. Musical acts this year include Charts, Ants in the Kitchen and Hit Machine. LoveBomb Go-Go will again lead two floaters parades to the launch point, like last year.
If you register by July 3, the cost is only $5 for adults and $3 for kids. After that it’s $10 and $5.
Unrocking the beach
The day before the float HAP will host another event, the Portland Beach Bash and Cleanup. Volunteers will work at three downtown beach areas (Tom McCall Bowl, Audrey McCall Beach, and Poet’s Beach) picking up trash and moving rocks and other debris up off the beach. Volunteers will get a free lunch from Chipotle and free admission to The Big Float Six.
River Hugger Swim Team is growing
To engage individuals and extend our reach in the community, HAP launched the River Hugger Swim Team two years ago. It’s a group advocacy swim open to anyone of intermediate ability or above. Swimmers cross the river and back – from the east bank just north of Hawthorne Bridge, to the west bank at Tom McCall Bowl, and back. It takes about 45 minutes round trip.
These “river lap” swims occur during the summer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings (7:00 am) and on Thursdays after work (5:45 pm). Swimming together in a pod (all in green River Hugger swim caps) we’re showing that the Willamette River is safe and fun for swimming.
If you are concerned with keeping up with others, wear swim fins. They help a lot. There’s no shame in fins and it’s fun to have the extra propulsion. We say, why not make a statement and get some rejuvenating exercise before work? The water is fine. Come on in!
Human Access Project has a slate of other mischief up our sleeves this summer – stay tuned. The floodgates to the future are open. Get on board and get into your river!
The Big Float SIX
What: Group inner-tube float and beach party on the Willamette River.
Date: July 10, 2016 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Adult $5 before July 3, $10 after, Children $3 before July 3, $5 after.
River Hugger Swim Team
What: Fun, river advocacy swim
Dates: June 15 to September 15 at 7 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 5:45 p.m. on Thursdays.
Cost: $3.00 per swim
Meet: Fire Station 21, 05 S.E. Madison St.