Fun, fabulous and floaty; Floatfest a huge success

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A whole sea of floaty colour filled the Welland Recreational Canal Sunday at the Canadian Tire Floatfest Welland Sunday, July 8/2018.

They came in all shapes and sizes, from your basic inflatable ‘o’ ring to giant pontoon boat-like rafts. There were unicorns, swans, pink flamingos, giant ducks and more.

The Lincoln Docks was packed with floaters of all ages who came out for some quiet floaty time on the canal with about 2,000 friends.

According to Floatfest President Leanna Villella, 1,500 people had registered online before the event and there was about 500 more who registered just before the event hit the water and more were coming.

“It’s just overwhelming, there’s a ton of people in the water already and it’s not even 1 p.m. yet,” Villella said.  “They just keep coming.”

“I think it’s going to be a fantastic day,” she said.

The idea for Floatfest came from Phil Gladman.

“People here are referring to me as the ‘Founding Float Father,’” Gladman said with a smile as he watched all the people heading into to the water for an enjoyable day.

The simple idea that came to him in 2016 has turned into an amazing family day for everyone.

“At some point today you won’t be able to see the water,” he said about the huge turnout of people.

“I hope it keeps going every year,” he said. “I hope everybody in Welland, every volunteer, every community member, comes to enjoy this event.”

“It’s really fantastic when we have something organic like this come from the community and then to have it just explode into such a fantastic event is just great for the community,” Welland Mayor Frank Campion said.

On top of the activity on the water, this year’s event had live entertainment, food, vendors and fireworks at dusk.



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