Options for a good time in Miami abound, but many require getting dressed up and paying an outrageous cover charge at the same old bar. Fear not, because this weekend, Floatopia returns. The fifth-annual free event is the among the nation's largest gatherings of pool-float aficionados. Attendees are invited to do just one thing: Have fun.
Thousands of beachgoers will invade South Pointe Park this Saturday. In the past six years, the event has grown beyond measure, and organizers hope it will continue to evolve. The inaugural Floatopia took place in 2012 and has been improving logistically every year, says the event founder, who plans it every year. She calls herself Flo but declines to give her real name. "We hope the fun, fuss-free attitude continues for as long as it exists.”
Those who attend can look forward to meeting new people and seeing a host of crazy characters. But the best part is clearly the unique floats. Pirate inflatables are a big thing, and last year a large Captain America was seen along the shore.
Floats are not provided. Guests are asked to bring their own. Drinking is also permitted (it's a Saturday afternoon on the beach after all), but Styrofoam coolers are not.
Every year, despite the revelry, the cleanup is always a concern. “This year, we will continue to build upon a cleanup initiative we started last year. We are going to have a floaty collection area upon exiting," Flo says. "Everyone is welcome to drop off their float at the volunteer tent when they leave." Last year, organizers collected three cars' worth of inflatables that were left behind and in turn donated them to children in the community.
Attendees also tend to leave garbage in the water. Throughout the event, volunteers will go around collecting trash. “The idea is to encourage people to have fun but also be mindful of not harming our beaches. We are even working with organizations such as Clean Up Miami Beach and Debris Free Ocean to further extend the cleanup efforts," Flo says.
“The ultimate goal is for Floatopia to become a fun event that brings people together and also helps the community.”
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in South Pointe Park. Admission is free. Visit floatopiamia.com.