The Big Float promo video

The Big Float 9

The Big Float 9

Saturday, July 13, 2019   10:00 am (gates open) - 6:30 pm
Willamette River - downtown Portland
2,500+ floaters   1,000+ observers and after-partiers

The Big Float is a celebration of our city’s river and a benefit for the Human Access Project. The goal is to help people embrace the Willamette River and to advocate for public beaches and better human access to our downtown waterway. In addition, we support our river's preservation and healthy development as a public resource. Join the flotilla. Viva la Riverlution!


Get into the river

The Big Float is Portland's summer parade, river float and beach party. It's a movement disguised as a party. Join us Saturday, July 13th at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The event is open to all ages. All floaters must wear a life jacket. It's a safe voyage, not a race. Be a part of an annual event that is making a cannonball-size impact in Portland. Join us!


To register or for more info go to




After-float Portland Beach Party

After we float downstream and land at Tom McCall Bowl, we'll celebrate with an after-party on the beach and grass area. Revelers will enjoy live music on our Main Stage barge, food carts, beer/wine garden, hammocks, kids' activities, and more. Recline in your watercraft on the river – or frolic on the beach or grass bowl. 


- Two live music barges (3 bands)
- Food carts, beverages
- Changing rooms and check-in for valuables
- Chair massages
- Fun for kids


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. Oregon DEQ states that when CSO conditions are not present, “the Willamette River is safe for swimming and other recreational uses.”


The evolution of TBF

The Big Float was launched in July of 2010. In that inaugural event over a thousand intrepid floaters made the “Great Crossing” of the Willamette. TBF has grown in popularity and awareness every year since. Last year’s spectacle made a huge splash in the local media and drew over 2,300 participants. Visibility and interest continue to rise and the tide to embrace our river is growing stronger. Not only that, costume and watercraft creativity is rising as well.