You may be familiar with Helsinki’s annual ‘Kaljakellunta’ beer float down the Kerava River. Well in Chico, California, they have a similar event in the Sacramento River for the Labour Day float.
This event attracts about 4,000 people who pack water tubes and rafts full with beer before floating with friends down the river. If this sounds like something you’d want to join in on, read on for some top tips and info to get the most out of your adventure.
What Is It?
Inspired by the founding event in Finland, the Labour Day river float invites river-goers to take their vessels to a stretch of the Sacramento River near Scotty’s Landing at noon. Parking is free from Scotty’s Landing and you can also rent a tube there (if you’re floating solo) for $4 a person.
The float takes about two hours, you put in at Irving Finch Boat Launch area and exit at Scotty’s Landing.
Tips for a Successful Beer Float
Since you will most likely have to rent your own raft, it is recommended that you show up early or make reservations ahead of schedule for the raft rental. Most businesses which offer raft hire will also shuttle you back to the parking lot for a minor fee per person. Call around some raft rental places to compare prices and to see which location each place picks you up from as different places may have longer shuttle routes than others.
If you are travelling as part of a group, decide amongst you who will be parking at the launch point and who is parking at the bottom of the river. Be sure the person parking at the bottom is the designated driver, or be sure your designated driver will be there at the river bottom too pick you up.
Things to Bring
- You need to pack the essentials for your beer float and these include:
- Taxi fare
- Of course, beer
The beer you pack needs to be in cans, not stubbies. Be sure to bring a waterproof bag for electronic devices, wallets, ciggies, etc. Paddles are not necessary for the float as the river is slow-moving and the current will carry you most of the way.
What You’ll See on Your Float
With all the rafts on the river, the river ride will sometimes resemble coloured drops on a window pane as rafts congregate into a swarming mass. Many river revellers stop at Beer Can Island, a patch of beach so named because of the amount of people partying and the accompanying trash they leave behind.
Some rafters even like to pack their own sound systems so don’t be surprised to hear pumping tunes along your raft. Don’t be surprised to see police patrols about the area cracking down on unruly behaviour, so don’t be a sloppy drunk or draw attention to yourself.