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Annual capital city region beer float adds clean-up day

Saturday marked the 19th annual Beer Floating event, where thousands of the capital city area's sun-worshippers gathered to float down the Vantaa River and drink beer. This year's website has a new addition: a volunteer clean-up day on Sunday to tidy up the mess that is often left behind.

kaljakellunta vantaanjoki 2014
Photo from the Beer Floating event in 2014. Image: Vesa Marttinen / Yle

Finns who love to combine beer and floating lazily down a river gathered again in the capital city region at the annual Kaljakellunta, or Beer Floating event on Saturday, August 5. The event has no official organizers, so word on the changing routes and dates is spread each year on social media.

This year the beer floaters started their four-kilometre route in rubber boats and plastic floats from behind the Heureka Science Centre in Vantaa's district of Tikkurila, ending before the Kirkonkylänkoski rapids.

Getting better at tidying up

After years of criticism, this year's webpage promises a volunteer clean-up day tomorrow to tidy the mess that is usually left behind.

Whereas in the past the city of Vantaa has had to spend up to 40,000 euros on cleanup, things have improved in the last few years as participants take their inflatables and rubbish with them when they head home. Even so, this year's expenses are projected to come in at 10,000 euros.

Vantaa's city engineer Henri Westlin says the biggest cleanup expense for the city comes from the wages of city workers who have to dismantle makeshift vessels that have been left behind and the transport of the items to the appropriate sorting and refuse stations. He says the city of Helsinki also contributes to the costs, as the event happens close to the Helsinki border.

The cities of Tampere, Kouvola and Oulu in other parts of Finland have also been known to join in the beer float fun some years. The event celebrates its 19th year of operation this year in Vantaa.

The Beer Floating event is one of Finland's successful event exports, as the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands has also adapted the yearly tradition.

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