"Beer-floating" mass event in Vantaa attracts thousands - and leaves an annoying mess behind it
Saturday's Kaljakellunta (literally : "Beer-floating") event on the Kerava River from Vantaa to a downstream riverside beach in Helsinki attracted thousands onto the water in a dizzying range of small rubber craft, equipped with nothing more than a paddle (optional) and a large quantity of beer (almost compulsory).
The adhoc event itself, held for the 14th time this year, is frowned upon by the authorities, but significantly there have never been any injuries or major mishaps, despite the potential offered by the mix of alcohol and water.
According to the police, a total of about 2,000 boats or makeshift boats and rafts were seen floating on the river. Many of the participants had rubber boats, often tuned and customised for the occasion.
The route started from the spot where the River Kerava enters the River Vantaa. The first floaters started their trip before noon.
The destination was the Pikkukoski beach in Helsinki.
The last floaters arrived at journey's end, tired but happy, early in the evening.
The authorities regard the event as dangerous for the participants but ”Beer-floating” obviously cannot be banned, as it has no official organiser. The participants agree on the route through the social media, for example Facebook or IRC-Galleria.
The Helsinki Police Department was monitoring public order during the event. The officers did not need to intervene in the floating.
However, the City of Helsinki now plans to do something about the event, as the boaters floating on the river in Vantaa and Helsinki last Saturday left behind quite a mess.
”The matter will be handled by the Committee on Public Works and Environmental Affairs in the autumn. The cleaning bill will now have to be paid by the Public Works Department”, says Jarmo Nieminen (Nat. Coalition/Unaffiliated) who is the chairman of the committee.
Normally the organiser of an event is responsible for all related security and cleaning-up arrangements.
”There is a distinct loophole in the law. In this event, citizens are just gathering together. But what happens if any security problems arise?” asks Nieminen.
Raimo K. Saarinen, head of the Streets and Park Division of the Public Works Department, says that all the litter is found in a limited area, which is why the clean-up and removal of garbage should be easy.
”Of course this is nothing compared with the litter left behind in the Sinebrychoff Park. The organisers are known but they just wish to remain in the background”, Saarinen says after visiting the venue on Sunday.
According to Saarinen, a number of complaints have been filed relating to the event even before.
On Sunday, passers-by were horrified by the garbage left behind in the area after the 2010 Kaljakellunta.
”The idea of such an event is really nice, but how can people be such jerks and leave all their garbage here. There are dozens if not hundreds of boats, swimming rings, and other trash. They look really disgusting”, said Reetta Ristimäki, who has a cottage in the nearby Pakila allotment gardens.
Clips of the 2010 Kaljakellunta on YouTube
The Facebook page for Kaljakellunta
Flickr photos of the 2010 event and previous ones
A veritable galaxy of photographs from the event from Juha Ylinen´s site