Preparations are underway for one of the summer’s biggest events, the Healdsburg Water Carnival, and organizers are calling for float sponsors to help make the July 14th celebration another rousing success. The centerpiece of the festival is a parade on the Russian River, and businesses, nonprofits and civic groups interested in participating are encouraged to secure a spot as soon as possible because space is limited. The deadline to register for one of the 30 float entries is June 30. Float sponsorships start at $500 for nonprofits and include an 8-by-12 platform for entrants to decorate. All sponsorship revenue is reinvested into Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach and dam. Sponsorship applications are available at healdsburgwatercarnival.com.
The Water Carnival debuted in 2011 as a fundraiser for the dam that creates the popular swimming area at Memorial Beach. With budget cuts threatening the dam’s annual installation, Regional Parks partnered with the City of Healdsburg and Supervisor Mike McGuire to rally the community with a party based on the river festivals of the early 1900s. More than 6,000 people turned out for a day of old-fashioned fun and helped raise $30,000 to keep the swimming beach open. The event’s success represented a turnaround for Memorial Beach, and the California Park and Recreation Society earlier this year recognized the Carnival with a “Champion of the Community” award for Sonoma County Regional Parks.
“The Water Carnival is part of Healdsburg’s history, and thanks to the generous support we received last summer, the Carnival will be part of this community’s future for years to come,” McGuire said. “This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. We’ll be featuring a larger parade. We’ve added the biggest rubber duck race in the West. We’ll have more food vendors, bigger-name musical acts and a slew of games and activities for all ages. Come on out and support Sonoma County’s favorite swimming hole.”
The 11 a.m. parade will be led by Sandy the Swan, a replica of an iconic float from water carnivals of decades past. Floats will follow Sandy down the river as spectators cheer from Healdsburg Memorial Bridge, the river banks and Memorial Beach. After-parade fun includes a vintage bathing suit contest, a whiskeroo contest, world rock music of Kazamoze, wine barrel races and a rubber ducky dash with the grand prize of two round-trip tickets to San Diego on Alaska Airlines. Water Carnival activities are free and run until 4 p.m. The day ends with a 5 p.m. concert by Jazz Mafia. Concert tickets are $25 in advance online.
For more information, visit sonomacountyparks.org or call Regional Parks at 707-565-2041. The Water Carnival is sponsored by Sonoma County Regional Parks and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation