Know Before You Go
Pre-registration is encouraged for this event, and life jackets are required for all participants. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the event website.
Every summer since 2011, thousands of wet and wild revelers have formed a massive flotilla on the Willamette River next to downtown. Why? From Portland’s mayor to a bare-chested Batman, they do it because they can.
Every July, The Big Float sets sail! A celebration of the river that runs through the city, this collection of inner tubes, floating loungers and inflatable toys makes a scene with a pre-float parade, but nothing beats the image of this motley crew enjoying the sun and splashing around at the height of Portland’s summer.
The flotilla drifts downstream about half a mile before putting out at the Tom McCall bowl just south of the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown’s Waterfront Park. Floaters supply their own tubes and life jackets, and the most outlandish watercraft and costumes earn awards.
The Big Float usually begins with a morning beach clean-up, followed by a synchronized swim performance by the Rose City Raindrops. Two inner tube parades then take to the street to march toward their put in point at Poet’s Beach, while a floating barge with live music sets the mood throughout the day. The Big Float culminates in an after party at Tom McCall Bowl Beach where the most creative float and costume winners were crowned.
More of a landlubber? You can watch from the Hawthorne Bridge or breeze into the beach party, where food carts and live music make a real splash. The Big Float is also the main annual fundraiser for the Human Access Project, a non-profit local organization that helps increase access to the Willamette River.
Upcoming Dates & Times
- July 9
Swimming Holes Near Portland
Stay cool all summer long at these serene swimming spots, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest — and all less than an hour away from Portland.
Make a Splash in the Willamette River
The river, which bisects the city into east and west sides, is a virtual aquatic playground, with kayakers, fishers and swimmers enjoying the water.
Amusement & Water Parks
Portland and the surrounding region offer a variety of amusements and entertainments for the young and young at heart.
Kayaking in and Around Portland
When the weather heats up, folks flock to the water. For paddlers, that typically means hitting one the many rivers in and near Portland.
Where to Stand-Up Paddleboard Around Portland
Find out where to stand-up paddleboard in Portland, as well as where to find SUP lessons, paddleboard rentals, guided lake tours and SUP yoga classes.
Whitewater Rafting Near Portland
Conquer rapids, spot wildlife and experience nature in a new way at these favorite spots for whitewater rafting near Portland.
Portland hosts dozens of beer festivals every year, but none compares to the Oregon Brewers Festival. With offerings from 80 craft brewers, the event draws nearly 70,000 attendees to the downtown waterfront every July.
Portland’s cycling culture peaks during summer’s multi-week Pedalpalooza, featuring 200+ local-led, themed rides, all open to the public.
Piano Push Play invites local artists to transform old, donated pianos into whimsical works of art which are distributed across the city.
Featuring mixed media and watercolor artist, Michelle Purvis and reclaimed wood artist, Heather Kolbo Artists’ Reception 7/29/21. 5 to 8pm Mountains, mountains, mountains. So much mountain art it’s madness. Don’t miss the epic show depicting beautiful mountains by mixed media and watercolor artist Michelle Purvis and reclaimed wood artist, Heather Kolbo.
Featuring Ceramics by Veronica Arquilevich Guzman and Jewelry by Leslie McMillan Artists’ Reception 7/29/21. 5 to 8pm Leslie transforms silver, copper and brass into wearable art that has a subtle simplicity. Verónica creates unique ceramic pieces using a wheel first and then forming them into whimsical animals or nature-inspired pieces.
Resound Angélica Maria Millán Lozano + Frankie Krupa Vahdani (Portland, OR) Fuller Rosen Gallery is thrilled to announce Resound, a two-person exhibition of new and recent work by Angélica Maria Millán Lozano and Frankie Krupa Vahdani. Resound features drawings, paintings, mixed-media work, and fabric pieces infused by the unique cultural hybridity of each artists’ heritage…
This boisterous street fair attracts independent artists, performers, local bands, troupes of acrobats, buskers, makers and more to celebrate their art on Northeast Alberta Street. Held year-round, the event is biggest from June through August, when the street is closed to traffic during the festivities from 15th Avenue to 30th Avenue.
To kick off the Summer of Feast, Feast has teamed up with PDX film legends at the Hollywood Theatre to create an outdoor movie series featuring favorite food films paired with the dreamiest menus from chefs and restaurants. Each night will feature a delightful food and drink experience inspired by the film–all to be enjoyed…
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