While that might be the groan of a healthy human struggling to top an inflatable raft, this Saturday, that noise will be accompanied by the occasional “Braaaaaiiiinnnnsss.”
Last September, a group of nonprofits, outfitters and Ashevilleans joined together to break the Guinness Book of World Records for “Most People in a Floating Line.” But instead of floral-print swim trunks and sunscreen, Ashevilleans came dressed as the undead — fake blood and all.
Though 548 zombie-participants were officially counted in last year’s Tube-ocalypse Zombie Float, that number was 87 short of what was needed to break the record for linked tubers. The current record, 634 people, is held by the Harley Owners Group Taiwan Chapter, breaking the previous record, 620, from tubers on the Willamette River in Portland, Ore., in 2013.
This year, organizers hope to breathe new life into the undead dream.
“The current record-holders linked together in a lake, a still body of water,” said Ben Wiggins, the founder of the Zombie Float. “That’s too easy. Anyone can do that. We’re going to do it dressed as zombies in one of the oldest rivers in the world.”
Pre-registration and a signed waiver form for the float are required and can be found at ashevillezombiefloat.com. The deadline to register is Friday, Aug. 28, and tickets come at three price levels with different perks: $10 to be shuttled from parking at the Salvage Station to the entry point at the French Broad River Park, $20 to ride the shuttle and receive a Tube-ocalypse T-shirt, and $40 for VIP treatment, which gets patrons all of thee above plus free food and drink.
It’s a 2.5-mile float, beginning at 9 a.m., from the park to the Salvage Station, where an afterparty will await floaters and their guests. Admission to the afterparty for non-tubers is $5.
After covering expenses, proceeds from the event will go directly to Riverlink, Western North Carolina Alliance’s Riverkeeper program and Asheville Green Works.
And what should you bring?
“Participants must provide their own inner tubes,” explains a press release for the event. And “dressing as a zombie is encouraged but not required.”
While no alcohol will be allowed at French Broad River Park or on the river, Catawba Brewing and SweetWater Brewing Company beer will be available at the Salvage Station afterparty, along with food trucks and pizza.
So remember to bring your ID along if you plan on drinking as you dry off.
Tube-ocalpyse’s website also suggests tubers bring sunscreen, money for shirts, beers, food and donations — and some dry clothes for after the float.
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