The Big Float (TBF) is a public parade, float and after-party that draws thousands of river revelers to the Willamette River in downtown Portland each July. The objective of TBF is to raise awareness that although there is a lot of work ahead to fully restore the ecological health of the Willamette River, its water quality (thanks to the Big Pipe) is now safe for humans to swim and recreate in.
The Big Float after-party is held at the Tom McCall Bowl on the westside of the Willamette River. This is the registration staging area and the floaters’ take out point and grass-lounging after-party area. Here, participants can enjoy live music from bands playing from two separate barges on the water, swim in the McCall Bowl Lagoon, and chill on the beach. There will also be a kids area with bounce houses, two 75 foot slip and slides, plus food carts, beer and wine, and free chair massages.
Human Access Project’s organizational vision is “A City in Love with its River”. HAP’s goals are to create more human access points to the Willamette River, inspire Portlanders to get into the Willamette River, and facilitate stewardship of the Willamette River and Watershed. HAP has had tremendous success with PR being covered multiple times over from virtually every media outlet in Portland and beyond. HAP has also been successful creating better access to and activating underutilized beaches in downtown Portland.
WHEN: The third Saturday in July each year, 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
8am – Noon: Beach Bash and Clean Up - participants receive free entry to TBF
11am: on site registration begins, pre ticket purchase entry begins, first main stage band starts
1:30pm: First Inner Tube parade (meetup at the bottom of the bowl )
2-6pm: Mid-Float Floating Barge live music by Portland PERK! - in tube groovin'
2:15pm-6:30pm: Main Stage Barge - three bands to be announced soon!
3pm: Second Inner Tube parade (meetup at the bottom of the bowl)
4:30pm: Final Inner Tube parade (tentative, meetup at the bottom of the bowl)
WHERE: Tom McCall Bowl - Waterfront Park (SW Columbia & Naito)
COST: $5 through July 5th, $8 through 7/14, $10 on site. Discounted pricing under age 18.
WHO: 3,000+ floaters, observers and after-partiers
WHY: To give our river a hug