Sunday, 4 July 2010

Whacky Raft Races

What you need on a hot day is a river festival. Thousands of people line the river bank for the main event, the Raft Race. First you have to fish out the mermaids.

They're off. Leading the flotilla is The Tank, strong lads with their on-board water cannon. There was a dispute with the marshals as to whether this could be used as a jet-propulsion method, but they've agreed not to point it at the water, only at the crowd waiting on the bridge.

They are being chased by The Raft, a classic minimalist design strongly rowed by a crew of four.

Closing the gap is The Jeep which has a smoke machine to help them hide when approaching the finishing line.

Here comes the crowd's favourite, EliG, the local massive with their graffiti wall. And the winner is....sorry, the air was full of water, smoke and the sound system was drowned out by the roar of the crowd

After the excitement, an English cream tea served in the Scout's tea tent. Perfect.


Skittler said...

And this all happens without Health & Safety getting in the way?
Great stuff!

Woman on a Raft said...

Hello Skittler

Yes, H&S does not get in the way because it is handled by the organizers who want to raise money for charity, not find themselves with an emergency. The festival is organized by the Rotarians, who are experienced at this. There must presumably have been police officers somewhere, but I never saw one.

Just out of camera shot are the Scouts and a boat from the River Patrol. The Scouts have at least half a dozen rescue crews escorting the rafts and the competitors usually wear floats so when the inevitable happens and the rafts capsize, they just bob about until the Scouts fish them out - if they haven't already swum to the bank. The river patrol stop the other boats for the duration of the race, but then people on the river usually know when the race is anyway and have already tied up.

Behind the river there is a festival with two performance areas, both surrounded by stalls, which means that although there are thousands of people there, they are filtering on and off the site gradually over the day instead of trying to converge all at the same time.

There was only one thing building up which probably needs to be dealt with and that is glass bottles. Glass is the wrong material to have in a crowd. When it gets broken it is difficult to spot and clear up and can spoil the fun for the dogs and children who are both more liable to be hurt by it. More dustbins and keeping them emptied should solve that one.