The Big Float 9



WHEN:   Saturday, July 13, 2019

               11:00 am - 6:30 pm


               7:30am – Noon: Beach Bash and Clean Up -  participants receive free entry to TBF


               11:00am: On site registration begins, expedited pre-ticket entry and walk in purchase entry 

               11:15am:   Opening Band TBD
on Main Barge Stage


               12:45pm: River Hugger Swim Team arrives to Kick off The Big Float


               1:10pm: Syncrhronized Swim Performance by the Rose City Raindrops


               1:15pm: Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers leads Parade #1 (meet at the bottom of the bowl)


               1:30-5pm: Mid-Float Floating Barge live music by Portland Perk! - in tube groovin'


               2:00pm:  Band #2 TBD on Main Barge Stage 


               3pm: Bloco Alegria leads Parade #2  (meet at the bottom of the bowl)


                    4:00pm: Last call for floating at Poet's Beach (no more supervised floating on course route) 


               4:15pm: Best-of-Cruise Costume Contest and Watercraft Contest (assemble at Tom McCall Bowl beach)


               4:20pm: Headliner Band TBD on Main Barge Stage



               6:30:  Wrap


WHERE:   Tom McCall Bowl - Waterfront Park (SW Columbia & Naito)              

COST:        $5 through July 7th, $10 advance, $15 day of event. Discounted pricing under age 18.

WHO:         5,000+ floaters, observers and after-partiers


WHY:         To give our river a hug


WHAT:       THE Portland summer celebration benefiting Human Access Project


You must provide your own float vessel and life jacket.  Life jackets are available through online registration or on location for $10.



Beach party here we come!

To get to this year’s Big Float, Go By Transit! TriMet can get you right by the waterfront and yes, you can bring your water wings on board. To plan your trip to Waterfront Park, visit to use their Trip Planner!


We launch from "Poet's Beach" (west bank under Marquam Bridge) and take out at the Tom McCall Bowl – on the west bank of the river just south of the Hawthorne Bridge. That’s where we’ll gather after the float for Portland’s summer beach party – including a music barge and live bands. Revelers can recline in their watercraft on the river – or frolic on the beach or grassy bowl.


The Big Float is open to all ages. All floaters must wear a life jacket. It's a safe voyage, not a race. Join the flotilla and attend the grandest pool party Portland has ever seen!  The Big Float is the annual fundraiser for the Human Access Project.



Come on in – the water’s fine!

Despite public perception (which we are trying to change), the Willamette River is approved for summer swimming, except in the now very rare instances when Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) conditions are present.

With the Big Pipe project now complete, it’s expected that a CSO will occur only once every two summers. You are more likely to see a whale swim up the Willamette than see a CSO in summer! Oregon DEQ states that when CSO conditions are not present, “the Willamette River is safe for swimming and other recreational uses.”


Questions? Click on the link below for official explanations of Willamette River water quality from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and City of Portland Office of Healthy Working Rivers.  Additionally visit the Bureau of Environmental Services Willamette River Water Quality Page to check in on weekly monitoring results at eight sites May-October.

What’s the BIG idea?

The Big Float, our annual Willamette River fundraising event, benefits the Human Access Project. It's a celebration of our river – including the recreation it offers as well as the restoration it has undergone in recent years. The idea is to enjoy the river and also inspire positive aspirations for the river’s healthy development (beaches and access), protection and improvement.

Contests, prizes and a parade

*  Portland Mercury Outlandish Watercraft Award   

*  KINK-FM Best-of-Cruise Costume Award     

*  Paddlers' parade - kayakers, canoeists, dragon boaters, crew teams, SUP’ers

<----Click to view
<----Click to view

Our River (Willamette River Song)

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