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‘First Float’ Kicks Off Summer River Activity
Clusters of friends and families, along with single rafters and couples, drifted down the Stanislaus River on Saturday, June 20, celebrating in the unofficial event that started at the beaches of Jacob Myers Park. It was all part of the ‘First Float of the Summer,’ starting there and continuing downstream to points west. The solstice celebration drew such a crowd that park hosts had to close the entrance shortly after 11 a.m., though launches into the water continued well past noon. Ric McGinnis/The News
This gentleman came prepared, with sunglasses, wide-brimmed hat, life vest and kayak paddles, which made it easier to navigate the dark, cold waters of the Stanislaus River on Saturday morning, June 20. He was part of a large crowd that put in at Jacob Myers Park, participating in the ‘First Float of the Summer’ to celebrate the solstice. Ric McGinnis/The News

The official first day of summer kicked off with a splash, lots of them, actually, with the ‘First Float of the Summer,’ announced on social media, and held at Jacob Myers Park on the Stanislaus River.

Riverbank officials noted last week that the event was not official, or ‘permitted,’ but that they had seen the event notice on Facebook. On Saturday morning, June 20, the summer solstice, it was evident that members of the public, from far and wide, had also seen the announcement. The float was publicized by NorCal River Events.

By 10 a.m., the park’s parking lot was filling up with groups, both families and just friends, assembling their floating devices. From then on throughout the morning, there was a steady flow of floaters heading to the beach, to launch and drift down the moving water, heading for points west. McHenry Recreation Area in Escalon was listed as the end point for the float.

There were small groups of rafters, families, singles and couples engaged in launching their craft. Some used a variety of raft configurations, but others used tubes and some paddled kayaks, just a wide variety of configurations floating off the beach and down the river.

Before the event, park hosts had expressed concern for the size of the crowd that might attend, noting they would have to keep circulating the area to remind participants to keep their social distance from neighbors.

And shortly after 11 a.m., park hosts were forced to close the gate coming into the park, having reached the capacity for vehicle parking.

Nonetheless, floating participants already inside continued to enter the river at the Jacob Myers Park beach well past noon.