With bright sunny skies, it was a perfect day to spend lazily floating down the Susquehanna River, and that is exactly how more than 3,000 people spent their Saturday at the 2011 Fanny Float.
Dean and Amy Kriebel, the founders of Andrew's Special Kids and event organizers, were overwhelmed by the event's turnout.
"I never dreamed we'd have this many people," Amy Kriebel said, noting that by 11:30 they had 3,000 people registered to float and eventually lost count of how many people were there.
2011 Susquehanna Fanny Float
She also said at least 150 people participated in the DuBoistown Dice Run, also a fundraiser for the foundation held at Haywood's on the Water.
Though the couple couldn't give an estimate of how much had been raised, they considered it a success and hope to hold the event again.
"By the turnout we are definitely going to have it next year. We've learned a couple of lessons from today," Amy Kriebel said. "We're definitely going to have to have a few more buses next year."
Fanny Floaters in the Susquehanna get comfortable Saturday near the drop-off location for their three-mile journey down the river.
School buses took floaters to the launch site, but also ended up having to shuttle people from the overflow parking area across the street from the Ford dealership on West Fourth Street, less than half a mile from Haywood's.
Parking at Haywood's filled up quickly and by 11 a.m. event staff and security said nearly 500 people were waiting at the overflow lot to catch the bus to get to the registration site.
Raising money for Andrew's Special Kids Foundation, relaxing while enjoying the sunshine and having a good time were all on the agenda for most of the float-goers, many of whom stood in long lines to get to the launch site and inflate their floats.
For Amber Phillips of Loyalsock Township, having fun with nearly 20 of her friends was the day's primary objective.
"To be out on the river with all of your friends floating for a few hours seemed like a great idea," Phillips said prior to the float. "I thought it would be a really great time."
One Montoursville mother saw the fanny float's resurrection as a chance to do something she always wanted. Stacy Zales remembers the fanny floats of the past but never had the chance to participate.
"I always wanted to participate," Zales, who floated with her daughter, Avery, said. "I was so excited when I saw this advertised."
DiRussell, of the city, participated in a fanny float before and had a great time, which is why she came out this year. Russell, much like others, also wanted to support the cause.
"It's a beautiful day and (this) is a fundraiser for children," she said. "I was in a fanny float yeas ago. I had a great time then."
The first fannies hit the water around 9:30 a.m., but faced with a strong headwind, it was hours before they arrived back at Haywood's.
The Hammond family, who were among the first people to enter the water, ended up giving up getting towed into the dock at Haywood's.
"It was nice," Andrea Hammond, of Loyalsock Township, said. "(But) we might bring a paddle boat next year. It was a little slow going."
Mary Jo Phillips, of DuBois, came into Williamsport just to participate in the fanny float and agreed with the Hammonds.
"I wish there was a little more wind for the current, but the water was nice," she said, noting she paddled much of the way because she was hungry after a few hours.
Despite the difficulties, most floaters left the water with smiles and laughter, vowing to return to the river next year.