Healdsburg Water Carnival

Healdsburg Water Carnival - 2017

The Healdsburg Water Carnival offers a day of classic fun on the Russian River at Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach! Come out from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 15, for Sonoma County’s only floating wine-barrel races, the "Zoom Floom" river slide, rides on the "Sandy the Swan" float, children’s games, live music, local foods, community booths, and a rubber duck dash with prizes. New this year are pedal boat races and kayak tours!

Admission is free. Activity wristbands are $10 and include barrel and boat races, the Zoom Flume, boat rides, face painting, and more. Parking is $7 or free for Regional Parks members

Presented by Sonoma County Regional Parks and the Parks Foundation, the carnival features the following events:

Time Events
11 AM Water Carnival begins
12 PM Live Music by RoseTown Soul and R & B Revue
3 PM Rubber duck dash
4:30 PM Sales end
5 PM Water Carnival ends
Ongoing Events
NEW: Kayak tours by Russian Riverkeeper
NEW: Pedal boat races
Floating wine barrel races
Face painting
Zoom Floom
Sandy the Swan boat rides
Vendor booths
Food trucks (Diaz Catering, Russoti’s Hot Dogs, The Wurst, Three Twins Ice Cream, Wicked Slush & more)
Live Music by RoseTown Soul and R & B Revue (begins at 12 PM)
Regional Parks Mobile Discovery Center
Pacific Air Museum
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods Mobile Marine Center
Sonoma County Water Agency
Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County
City of Healdsburg Kids Activities
Sonoma County Traveling Fair
SOAR Inflatables
Rivers Edge Kayak and Canoe
Rivertown Revival

Remember, the beach is a summer swim zone, so bring your suit and make a day of it. A summer dam creates a calm swim area perfect for families. Swim boundaries are clearly marked, and lifeguards are on duty daily in July and August.

Water Carnival proceeds benefit Regional Parks' Russian River Water Safety Patrol, which provides loaner life vests and water-safety education along the river.

Water Carnival sponsors include the City of Healdsburg, Russian River Adventures, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, Syar Industries, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Brush Bernard Certified Public Accountants and the Heck Foundation.

See you on the beach!

Russian River Confluence logo

The present-day Healdsburg Water Carnival debuted in 2011 as a fundraiser for the summer dam that creates the Memorial Beach swimming area. When budget cuts threatened the dam's installation, Regional Parks partnered with the City of Healdsburg and Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire to rally the community with a party based on river festivals of the early 1900s.

The event was recognized by the California Park and Recreation Society with a "Champion of the Community" award for Regional Parks. The fundraiser proved so popular it continues as an annual event.

The following is an excerpt from the article "SplashWater Carnival barrel races 1948 from the Past: 20th Century Water Carnivals of Healdsburg" by Holly Hoods, Healdsburg Museum Historian:

"Healdsburgers have always loved to party. The tradition of festive water pageants on the Russian River in Healdsburg dates back more than 100 years. Water carnivals evolved from popular land-based festivals, including May Day, Fourth of July and something called a Floral - sometimes “Flower” - Festival. Organizers of the water carnivals could innovate, but they liked to re-use the best ideas from well-established events. The key ingredients necessary for a successful river festival in the early 1900s were: music, dancing, parades, floats, queens, speeches, plentiful food and drink, feats of athletic prowess and beautiful decorations. Just add water."

Water Carnival

Get a Sneak Peek

Check out the Zoom Flume, a giant slip-n-slide that debuted last year. Looks fun, doesn't it?

Hiking in Sonoma County

Some content on this page is saved in alternate format. To view these files, download the following software.

Windows Media Player   Windows Media® Player for Windows, Flip4MAC for MAC OSX
Compressed ZIP Archive   WinZip® for downloading compressed files