Greg GordonSurf CR

The 1st Annual Gringo Independence Day Raft Race and Festival

Surf CR logoPhotos: Sarah Wohlford, Toni Carter, & Helen Evans

On Sunday July 2nd, the 1st Annual Gringo Independence Day Raft Race and Festival took place in Playa Dominical. The entire community showed up to cheer on the rafters and celebrate both the United States and Canada’s independence. The purpose was to raise money for the Costa Ballena Lifeguard Association and the non-profit Arbol Generoso, who donate funds to community projects like the beachfront playground.

It started at 10 a.m. with nine raft teams floating down the Rio Baru. It was not just a race to see who could reach the finish line first, each time was judged on the creativity of their rafts as well. There was a VW bus, a group of ‘Aquamen’, Team Canada, The Flintstones cast, a pirate raft, a Viking raft, and many other inventive forms of watercraft. They all shared one requirement, four 90 gallon water barrels used for floatation.

After the successful race, the participants and observers moved to the Domi Plaza (where they host the Friday farmers market or Eco Feria) next to the soccer field. Here is where the party really got started. Besides the live music on stage, a few community marching bands put on a show out in the street. Margaritas were flowing thanks to the many volunteers that helped out during the day, and at another booth they were selling hot dogs and apple pies.

The kids were having a blast, too. There were three-legged races, face painting, carnival games with lots of prizes, dancing, and circus jugglers. Even an acrobatic troupe showed up to put on a daring display of concentration and balance.

The first ever Gringo Independence Day festival was a smashing success. It could not have been achieved without the volunteers who organized the event and I hope they want to continue with the event in the future. The Costa Ballena Lifeguard Association pays four full time lifeguards, manages hiring and training and volunteers, and maintains the towers in Dominical and Playa Hermosa de Uvita. ALL of the funding right now comes from the donations made by community members and visiting tourists. If you wish to help keep the program afloat, please visit our website where you can make a donation and sign up for their quarterly newsletter