CHICAGO — “The time are a-changin,'” said Bob Dylan and that song lyric rings true when talking about the Chicago River.

On Sunday, August 14, Friends of the Chicago River are set to welcome hundreds of people to fill the North Branch of the Chicago River for a summer float party. The fun starts at River Park and floats downstream to Clark Park. Attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite inner tubs, floating loungers and inflatable toys.

Summer Float Party

This is the first in-the-water event of its kind since swimming competitions took place in the early part of the 20th century in the Main Stem of the river. This event is designed to celebrate the river system’s renaissance.

For years, Chicagoans have walked past the river with not much thought of using it as a recreational tool, but that’s slowly changing.

“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,” executive director of Friends of the Chicago River Margaret Frisbie said. “Thanks to decades of hard work and advocacy by Friends, elected officials, government agencies and our many partners, the Chicago-Calumet River system is healthier and more accessible for recreation than it has been in over 150 years. The Summer Float Party is an easy way for people to find their way to the water and have some fun while supporting the work that Friends is doing to bring the river back to life. All they need is a life jacket and a floaty toy.”

The Summer Float Party is this Sunday at River Park

Like Bike the Drive, the Summer Float Party is a one-day special event on the river. This year tickets are limited to 500 for this unique and fun event for people aged seven and above. Participants must provide their own floaty and personal flotation devices, which must be worn at all times.

An inflation station for floats will be available at River Park. Parking is available at Clark Park and free shuttles will transport participants from there to the starting line at River Park so guests can float back. The event is rain or shine and will only be canceled in the event of a combined sewer overflow. Pre-registration is required. Proceeds of the Chicago Summer Float Party benefit Friends of the Chicago River.

For tickets and information, click here.

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