Back in 1980 the town of Port Hope on the shores of Lake Ontario suffered a devastating flood when the Ganaraska river swollen by pitched rains rampaged through town. And ever since the townspeople have been celebrating the recovery with a little crazy defiance – its known as Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny.
The Day was cool and Spring snowy – Ganaraska at Dale Road
Now the celebration has taken on new dimension over the years. First, FannyontheGanny also allows locals to test the nature of Spring each year. Some years is its downright balmy, warm and confirming that the the snow and cold are gone for another 7-8 months or so. Other years it is a bit windy or rain sodden, but sewing the seeds of a bumper summer crop for the many local farmers. This year, FannyontheGanny hit the Trifecta – cold, windy and snowy!
First Fanny through – a Kayaker
The second reason Fannies make their way down the Ganny is that its the first Spring Fling. Now people have been out skiing, hiking, sledding in many forms, ski-doing, hunting and even a bit of snow-shoeing all winter long. But this is the first Summer activity of the year – no bundling up in 3-5 layers of undies to jacket, scarf, toque and gloves required. However, a wet suit is de rigeur and the knowing FannyGanners use hip-waders as well.
The first Canoes to Dale Road – yes that is ice in the foreground
The Fannies are also divided up into three groups. As we have seen the kayakers, then the canoers, and finally the special models, the custom-built Fanny-goers. The kayakers don’t always lead the race, but they generally win because they are easier to portage – there is a portage around the fish ladder about 5km from the finish. Let me tell you the water was very cold this year, making that portage lots of fun.
Kayaker with Decorations – a sign of things to come?
Okay its the first Spring outing without toques or gloves – well what is that gal doing just above? Expressing herself. That is the third reason Fannies go down the Ganny. Gannying means people get to express themselves about how they feel about Spring, the Ganny, and Life-in-General (no, definitely not the Insurance company) in simple or sometimes a bit more extravagant ways. We see this in the Bunny detailing on the kayak.
More Canoes near Dale Road
There is another lurking reason for Fannies to go Gannying – adventure. The screenshot above shows some of the the simple ripple falls on the Ganny. But let me assure readers there are some turns and rips on the Ganny worthy of caution. Just before and after the fish ladder some Gannyers take liberal exit and re-entry positions on the river. This year the flow was still swollen, despite the early Spring runoff, with additional rain and/or snow.
A sleek Custom-built GannyCraft
But perhaps the number one reason that the Ganny faithfully sees Fannies is hotrod dragsters. Hotrod dragsters? Well the Soggy Bottom Boys III is not exactly a hotrod or even a dragster; but it is a custom-built boat designed to get your Fanny et al down the Ganny. Now there is something primordial about building a boat and getting it to float intact down a river that in places can have some nastiness. But even more “interesting” to devoted Fanniers is the opportunity to customize. Now we have already seen that Express-thyself has Ganny Appeal. How about express thyself with a fully customized nautical flotsam? Now that is down right fun which the next series of images will attest to:
Canadian Flag Boat waving its way down the Ganny
Three FannyRodders in a Custom Dragster
The proverbial I-am-Canadians
Riding on tires through a little snow and rapids
A real Lashing of Inner Tubes together here
Now that is quite stylish roofing … see below
Now why do between 8-15,000 people come out to see Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny -> Fun. Better yet – Water Fun. See the Ganny boat immediately above – it has a roof. Now why would you want a roof ? To keep out the rain – the rain of water balloons that spectators usually greet the vessels with as they pass by the lower stretches of the river. But the Fanny-boaters come armed as well – with waterguns that they they can easily refuel and re-pump up. This year, because of the very cold, very windy, and very snowy weather – the usual water fights and antics were at a minimum. Instead, people had to enjoy the sheer fun of paddling, floating or otherwise conveying yourself down the Ganny. These two have the last word: