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Slocan Valley poker float bobs along

Contributor
By Contributor
July 25th, 2011

Not quite up to hanging out at Shambala this year? Looking for something that mixes bagpipes, roller derby queens and mellow rock and roll? 

If you are, why not consider joining folks of a similar mind and go for a float down the mighty meandering Slocan River?

On Sunday, August 7th the Slocan Valley Recreation Commission will be hosting the 18th Annual Poker Float. This popular event brings out inflatable craft of all sizes, shapes and decorations to bob along the Slocan River on the 7 km float route from Perry’s Siding to the Winlaw Regional and Nature Park.  It’s a day where the people and their crafts are all part of the show and there’s a friendly poker game added to the mix.

How the Poker Float works is participants stop at five stations along the way collecting a playing card at each. The last card is picked up at the park and the best hand wins the day!

The float begins with registration at Perrys Siding by the Threads Guild starting at 11 a.m. At the finish, prizes are awarded for Best Poker Hand, Best Decorated Float and Best Homemade Hat as well as a variety of draw prizes.

A shuttle service runs from the finish to start area between 11:00 and 11:45 a.m. so folks will have their vehicles waiting for them at float end. It’s strongly recommended that floaters take advantage of this service as after-float shuttles may not be available.

The float takes place along a relatively slow moving portion of the river, but floaters should be aware there’s always risks and to keep an eye open for submerged obstacles and fluctuating currents. Because of the higher than normal water along the river, the float may be quicker and the water cooler, so crafts that keep floaters out of the water might be preferable.  Also because of an unsettled summer, floaters may wish to phone 250-226-0008 to confirm the event is happening.

This year the fee for the event has been set at $5 per person. That figure is reduced to the regular $3 per person, if a Slocan food-bank donation item is brought along. This is a no-booze event and this policy as always will be strictly enforced.

The launch gets underway to the stirring melody of  David Hogg’s bagpipes. At the end of the ride, floaters will be greeted to the music of Holly & Jon Burden. Please arrange to have some money with you because members of the Valley Vendatta’s Roller Derby team will be hosting a concession at the park – and they mean business!  There’ll be free hot chocolate for the floaters should they need a shot of warmth and we’ll set up the volleyball net for those wanting a friendly game.

A few float hints: There is a legal requirement that floaters must have PFD’s with them. As well children 12 & under require adult accompaniment, please leave no garbage in the river, sunscreen is a helpful item to bring along, as is a hat.

For more information on the float, call Slocan Valley Recreation at 226-0008 or stay in touch by joining us on Facebook.

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