Floodwaters have finally seeped away from Discovery Park, and Sacramento County is throwing a party to celebrate.
The park will host a “Grand Re-Opening” on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., county officials announced in a news release. Entertainment will include food trucks, local radio stations and bounce houses.
Water safety campaigns “Life Looks Good on You” and “Kids Don’t Float” will be the focal points of the event, encouraging visitors to wear life vests whenever they play in the river. The park sits at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers.
Thirty life vests will hang from Jibboom Street Bridge to symbolize the dangers of water sports without adequate gear. Anyone who posts a selfie wearing a life jacket with the hashtag #SacRivers on Twitter or Instagram will get free entry to the event, according to a county news release.
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At least four people have died in area waterways so far this year, including a man who died Sunday while kayaking with his 5-year-old daughter near Brannan Island State Park in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. They were not wearing life jackets.
Heavy winter precipitation swelled the waterways and a melting snow pack in the Sierra is sending very cold water rushing down the river. Officials have been persistently reminding people that the river is more dangerous this year than some years during the drought.
Last year, no one drowned in the area between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The previous year, 13 people drowned in the American and Sacramento Rivers. On average, six people drown in Sacramento-area waterways every summer.
Discovery Park opened on a limited basis for Memorial Day, but the rest of the 302-acre park has been closed while floodwaters receded and Regional Parks staff cleaned up debris left behind.