Valuable lessons were learned from last year's Susquehanna River Fanny Float. This year, there will be far less waiting in line and much more fun.
The float will be launched at 11 a.m. July 7 at Haywood's on the Water, 610 Antlers Lane. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit Andrew's Special Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides adaptive equipment for children with disabilities.
Participants in the float, which will be held in conjunction with the Duboistown Dice Run motorcycle run, can drive directly to the starting point at Haywood's on the Water rather than wait for a shuttle and can bring their flotation devices already inflated, said Dean Krieble, of the foundation.
The floating course also has been shortened from three miles to one mile, Krieble said.
That will prevent a replay of last year in which floaters, hampered by a slow current and strong head winds, took up to six hours to complete the course. This year, it shouldn't take more than two hours, Krieble said.
A shuttle, provided by Susquehanna Trailways, will return participants to the starting point.
The event also will include more registration tables and inflation stations to prevent the long lines that vexed participants of last year's event, Krieble said.
"We got more of everything to make it more user friendly," he said. "People said the float was too long last year, so we shortened it to make it more enjoyable and we definitely didn't want people standing in line waiting for buses and waiting to pump up their tubes. There was too much standing around."
The Dice Run, which also begins at 11 a.m., is in its eighth year, but for the second time will be held in conjunction with the float, Krieble said.
For those people who don't want to ride or float, there will be plenty of things to do at Haywood's, Krieble said.
The Cramer Brothers Band and the Flipside will provide live music. Haywood's will have food and beverages for sale during the event. There will be a silent auction, Chinese auction and raffles, as well, Krieble said.
"We had a lot of people show up last year who did neither," he said. "They just came to enjoy the bands, the nice weather and the prize giveaways."
According to Krieble, the list of prizes is impressive and includes sports memorabilia from Peyton Manning, Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, Assante Samuels, Joe Paterno, Doug Flutie and Jim Kelly, to name a few.
Checks and credit cards will be accepted for purchases and donations, Krieble said.
Float participants will be allowed to take their own alcoholic beverages on the float, but are forbidden by law from consuming them on Haywood's property, he said.
"Once you hit the water, have a blast, but when you get back, all personal alcoholic beverages have to put in your vehicle," he said.
Littering of any type - even discarding cigarette butts - also is forbidden during the float, he said. A Dumpster for depositing all refuse will be located at the end of the course, he said.
According to Krieble, about 2,000 people turned out for last year's float. Organizers were overwhelmed by the large turnout, but they are ready for an even bigger crowd this year, he said.
People should attend the event for two reasons, Krieble said.
"'You're helping children with disabilities who desperately need expensive adaptive equipment that many parents cannot afford," he said. "The second reason is, it's going to be a blast. This is going to be a talked-about event that you do not want to miss."
For more information or to download and print registration forms for either event, go to the foundation website at askandrew.org, and click the Fanny Float/Dice Run link at the left of the page. Although the website says June 20 was the deadline, those submitting re-registration forms by Saturday will receive a free event T-shirt, Krieble said.