Fools Flotilla floats down the Yahara River

Dane County residents are taking to the waters this week!

  • In conjunction with Take a Stake in the Lakes Days, an annual effort " to protect and improve our lakes, rivers and streams," water enthusiasts around the county are hosting events centered on Wisconsin waterways. Activities include Lakeside Yoga, the Marquette Waterfront Festival, and the Fools Flotilla, an aquatic parade down the Yahara River.

Upwards of 15 canoes and kayaks floated down the Yahara from its entrance on Lake Mendota to its exit on Lake Monona on Sunday morning. Boats of all sizes (and even shapes) participated in the parade. Participants dressed in creative costumes, brought out musical instruments, and dressed up their boats for the event . The parade ended at Yahara Place Park, the location of the two-day Marquette Waterfront Festival.

Organized by the River Alliance of Wisconsin, the parade was meant as a fun way of saying “thank you” to its supporters, said water policy program director of the Alliance, Helen Sarakinos.

Aside from the Fools Flotilla, Sarakinos also participated in a lake clean-up with her husband and two kids.

“Both of us are really tuned in to the waters around us, and this is our neighborhood, and it just always feels good to get involved with these water bodies,” Sarakinos said. “The more you’re committed to them, the more sweat and tears you put into this stuff, the more important it becomes. So, we’re really firm believers of being very involved.”

Mark Scalf, another participant in the Fools Flotilla, heard about the event through friends. “It was a good time, you know. We played music and, you know, it was just fun. I live near the Yahara, so it was easy for me to come down, and I really enjoy paddling,” he said.

Scalf did not know about Take a Stake in the Lakes Days before the parade, but said he has his own way of helping out. “Every time I paddle down the Yahara and come back out, I take a piece of trash somewhere and bring it back home and throw it away. That’s my way to go about it,” he said.

The Take a Stake in the Lakes Days began on June 1 and will end on June 17. More activities are scheduled for the upcoming week, and can be seen here.


Correction: The article orginally stated that the Fools Flotilla was part of official Take a Stake in the Lakes programming. The event is only associated with Take a Stake in the Lakes, however. 


A clarification.

Thanks for the great converage of the Fools' Flotilla. I just wanted to clarify that the Marquette Waterfront Festival, and the Fools' Flotilla are not official events affiliated with "Take a Stake in the Lakes" though it's great that they occurred at the same time and help raise awareness of how lucky we are to live near so many amazing bodies of water that we can play in or near.

But I feel like I need to add that the Marquette Festival is a fundraiser for the Marquette Neighborhood Association to help fund many community programs including after school and summer camp yourth programs, food pantry and others.



Helen Sarakinos

River Alliance of Wisconsin