The Port Huron Float Down is the sort of anarchic, beery good ol' time southeast Michigan does so well. It has no organizers, no releases to sign, no corporate sponsors. You just show up at Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron with your floatie, wade into the St. Clair River and let the current carry you and a few thousand of your friends 7.5 miles downstream to Chrysler Beach in Marysville.
Sure, there have been problems in the past. In 2016, a strong westerly wind blew about 1,500 floaters across the border to Canada, where the always-helpful citizenry and constabulary of our next-door neighbor had to help all these bathing suit-clad Americans, many of them drunk, back across the border.
This year, though, the Canadians are playing hardball. The border is closed, there's a pandemic on, and anyone who crosses faces six months in jail and up to -- get this -- a $750,000 fine. (The float is set to take place Sunday.)
The Detroit News reports on the party's-over statement from Canadian authorities:
Law enforcement will be on both sides of the border to patrol and ensure compliance with the restriction. They will be utilizing technology and surveilling to ensure people are in compliance with the non-essential travel restriction. They are also encouraging anyone on the water to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The fast current, large crowd, lack of lifejackets, but no lack of alcohol consumption, and limited rescue resources can result in serious injuries or fatalities that could be avoided, authorities say.
If worse comes to worst and you get arrested, try this defense: "Your honor, I don't have $750,000."