PORT HURON (AP) – Thousands of people could turn out for this weekend’s Port Huron Float Down and law enforcement officials are urging participants to plan for safety.
Starting around 1 p.m. Sunday, people in tubes and rafts plan to hop into the water at Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron, about 55 miles northeast of Detroit, and float down the St. Clair River to Chrysler Beach in Marysville.
Cody Kimball, who runs a website about the event, told the Times Herald of Port Huron he’s expecting between 2,500 and 3,000 people.
“It’s less about the structure and more the ability to enjoy something that not everyone has the chance to,” Kimball said.
St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon is warning participants about using flimsy rafts. He also said people should bring paddles. That’s important if winds push participants across the river toward Canada, since anyone who comes ashore there might not be allowed to return immediately.
“We see people out there in crazy things that can’t make the journey,” Donnellon said.
Waterways will be closed to motor vessels from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., though they may reopen earlier if the river is clear of Float Down participants. The U.S. Coast Guard, the St. Clair County Sheriff Department and other agencies will be on hand for the event.
The event also is expected to boost area businesses. David Minock, who owns The Spirits Shoppe in Port Huron, said he’s preparing for a flood of customers. He’s stocked up on inflatable tubes, rafts and coolers, which are on display at the store.
“It’s just a unique experience that they really can’t do anywhere else,” Minock said.
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