A float party with a purpose!
Summer is always a glorious time in Chicagoland. Our calendars are marked with an array of our favorite annual events and it feels like every weekend something special is taking place. From exhilarating events like NASCAR’s first ever Chicago Street Race to Sail GP and festivals like Lollapalooza to charitable traditions like the Chicago Ducky Derby, the summer months are packed with all kinds of occasions.
Last year, a new event inaugurated itself into Chicago folklore, and is set to return again for its 2nd annual celebration! Instead of ducks floating down the river, the people of Chicago will take to the Chicago River and float downstream themselves rain or shine from River Park in Lincoln Park to North Center’s Clark Park.
Though at this event you can’t bet on a winner, it is also a charitable endeavor organized by Friends of the Chicago River, a nonprofit that since 1979, “has been working to improve the health of the Chicago River system for the benefit of people, plants and animals”.
On Sunday, July 23rd, hundreds of participants will take to the river from the banks of River Park at 3000 W. Argyle St, Chicago, 60625, and bring with them their own floaties and inflatable toys of all shapes and sizes.
Check-in starts at 10:30 am that Sunday, allowing Chicagoans to float down the river until 4 pm.
The event is also looking for spirited team leaders! apply to be a Spirit Team Captain here here, if you’re 21+, highly interested in helping to improve the Chicago-Calumet River system for people, plants, and animals, and willing to lead a team in fundraising efforts.
People wishing to get involved in the main event must register to float and purchase a ticket starting at $50, the proceeds of which will go towards improving and protecting the Chicago River.
There will be an inflation station situated in River Park so participants can wait until the last minute to fully inflate their chosen vessels, and parking will be available at Clark Park with shuttles operating between the finish and start points.
An after-float celebration will again take place in Horner Park Park (2741 W. Montrose Ave, Chicago, 60618) from 1 pm until 4 pm featuring music and food trucks.
After being piloted in Skokie 2 years ago year, and making its debut last year in Chicago, the 2nd annual Summer Float Party will once again stand out as an in-the-water event of its kind to occur since swimming competitions were carried out in the Main Stem of the Chicago River in the early 20th century.
“When Friends of the Chicago River was founded in 1979, it would have been inconceivable to float down the river on inflatable chickens and giant unicorns, but not anymore,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]