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Sunny morning attracts thousands to annual beer float

The annual beer floating event took place on Saturday and the abnormally sunny weather for summer 2015 enticed thousands to grab an inflatable, something cool to drink, and join in the fun. Organised online since 1997, the route was changed this year to follow the Kerava River from the Vantaa districts of Tikkurila to Tammisto.

Video: Kaljakellunta.
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Hundreds of rubber boats and inflatable swimming pools and mattresses floated downstream the Kerava River on Saturday as capital city area Finns took part in the annual ‘beer float’, known in Finnish as Kaljakellunta.

Sami Solansuu was a first-time participant.

“I’ve never attended, but I always wanted to see what it is like. What a great bunch of people to hang out with,” he says.

Maija and Mari Koivisto are sisters from Vantaa and this is their seventh time at the event. This year they decided to float downstream in a children’s swimming pool. As long-time veterans of the event and local inhabitants, they are determined to keep the river bank clean.

“If you bring things with you, you should at least take them with you when you go. We pick up after ourselves and clean up other people’s messes too, if we can,” says Maija Koivisto.

Another Finnish export

Eastern Uusimaa region police say the event has proceeded peacefully, and estimates that 4,000 people participated this year, about the same amount as in previous years.

“Everyone was in a great mood because the weather was nice, so we haven’t had much to do beyond prohibiting some illegal parking. Participants don’t seem to have made a mess of the surroundings yet either, at least at the starting point,” says Constable Harri Lanttola.

The event has no official organizers, as the date is decided each year on online social forums. This year the float will be organised in the capital city suburb of Vantaa and the cities of Tampere and Kouvola. Oulu has also hosted a river float in the past.

2015 marks the first export of the Finnish concept as well, as arrangers are planning Amsterdam’s first-ever Beer Float for August of this year.

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