Fun on the Willamette River: The BIG Float X

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Welcome to Self-care Sunday’s of my B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blog! This week, I am sharing my self-care experience with floating on the Willamette River that runs through downtown Portland, OR. Today, I am headed to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to attend The BIG Float X (their final one), my third time going (2018, 2019, 2022). I would like to share a type of self-care Sunday by showing my fun and relaxing time floating on the river with family and friends while supporting a great cause. 

Family fun on land & in the water

The BIG Float X (2022) – “10 Years of Riverlution”

Welcome to weird Portland, home of the River Huggers at Human Access Project (HAP), a nonprofit since 2010 who help protect, clean, and restore Portland’s river shores to make them an inviting and safe place for people to access the riverways. With the help of volunteers and donations, HAP has been able to organize several beach clean ups, added docks, and enhanced the swimming situation along Portland’s rivers. This may be the last year of the BIG Float, but there are several other HAP fundraising events planned throughout the year, such as the Valentines Day Day where you go in the chilly Willamette waters (the air is usually cooler) and then sit under heated tents drinking hot beverages to warm up. 

BYOF-We brought a bunch of Intex floaties

The BIG Float 9 (2019)

This was my second BIG Float event, and I attended with my family on July 13, 2019. Since I had been before, I kinda knew what to expect. We wore our swim clothes and brought dry stuff to change into, towels, water bottles, sunscreen, and life jackets. We also had our floaties filled up by where we parked.

My family w/ Colette Miller Angel Wings

One of our floats was a pair of Intex Angel Wings that were created by my artist friend, Colette Miller based on her Global Angel Wings Project. They were having a float contest where they would vote on Facebook for the most original (homemade) and one for the most creative (eye-catching). My family was excited to win the latter and our prize was tickets to The BIG Float X, which ended up being three years later due to the pandemic. 

Fun floating, sliding, and drinking with friends (100% fruit, no alcohol)

The BIG Float 8 (2018) 

This was my first BIG Float, and I attended with a friend and her family on July 14, 2018. We also brought a bunch of floaties and were able to fill them at the air station with lots of long air tubes for people to fill their flotation devices. However, we didn’t bring a life jacket and they expect that everyone wears one while in the water. We all purchased a one-size life jacket (I think it was $5/ea), got our event bracelets, and headed inside. They had a bunch of activities for families on the land such as blow up water slides and giant slip and slides. There were traveling band members marching through the lines and then a floating band playing music in the water while there was dancing, floating, and swimming.  People could also purchase food and drinks at the variety of food trucks park all around. The place was really packed, it was hot, and floating in the cool river seemed like the perfect type of relaxation!

Why is it called The BIG Float? (size of floats or crowd floating)

The Final Float

This concludes my post about my self-care Sunday while having a blast at the last three Big Floats in Portland, Oregon. I am happy and grateful to spend quality time in nature with my family and friends. Thank you for reading about some of the adventures we have up here in the Pacific Northwest, all while pitching in to care for our public parks and riverways. 

Sending lots of self-care love,

Dr. Jaime Brainerd, E.d.D.

About the Author

Dr. Brainerd

Hello, I am Dr. Jaime Brainerd Ed.D., a lifelong learner, beauty consultant, author, financial specialist, artist, traveler, health enthusiast, and self care advocate. Please follow my website for my B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blogs.

4 thoughts on “Fun on the Willamette River: The BIG Float X

  1. Why would you call your city “weird”?
    I absolutely love to read that people and organizations care enough to keep their bodies of water clean and celebrate in such a fun way! These floats look absolutely fantastic, flamingoes, duckies and unicorns, they all make me smile!
    Thank you for spreading the good vibes!

    1. Hello Tamara, Thank you for reading, viewing, and commenting! Portland wear’s it’s weird with pride as “Keep Portland Weird” is our city’s slogan or catchphrase (it’s posted all over on signs, bumper stickers, and murals). I’m glad it caught your eye as did the fun floats on the water celebrating our cleanliness! Looking forward to sharing more creative ways we are helping our communities! Sending love. Jaime

    1. YES, Martha, it’s fun for the whole family! This year’s float upgrade is for comfort over cuteness. I’m bringing a floatie that I don’t have to fill, a floating chair (filled with styrofoam) at Costco last summer. It is light, portable, has a cup holder for my big reusable water bottle, and it’s easy to wash off and store away. Thank you for reading, viewing, and commenting. Sending lots of love and virtual hugs to you and Lia. Jaime

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