Hundreds attend 10th Tubestock despite rain

by Neil Desai | 7/23/96 5:00am

A cold drizzle, gray skies, gusty winds and threats of dangerous currents could not prevent about 300 students from participating in the annual floating party known as Tubestock.

Tubestock, which was held about one-half mile upstream from Ledyard Bridge on the Connecticut River, began at 1 p.m., when the first of four bands started playing.

It seemed the festivities would be stifled by the fickle weather and the word of caution issued by New England Power Company, which operates Wilder Dam in Lebanon. The station had warned of dangerous currents and urged caution for any waterfront activities until water levels receded.

But by 2:30 p.m. the Vermont side of the river was alive with hordes of students, mostly members of the Class of 1998, piling into inner tubes and homemade rafts.

Safety and Security Officer Traci Thibodeau said there were no reported injuries.

During the party, Safety and Security officers along the New Hampshire side of the river prevented students from entering College property.

Thibodeau said this was because College officials were concerned about liability. She said certain students were allowed to enter from the river because of the cold temperatures.

Stan Weinberger '98, who attended the event, said Tubestock was a cold experience.

"The wind really cut through you," he said. "We probably would have stayed out longer, but it was getting kind of ugly outside."

Ed Kim '98, who lounged on the ledge eating a submarine sandwich, said people in the water "kept saying how nice it was and how we should go in."

"But when they got out they were mumbling to themselves how freezing cold it was," Kim said. "Nonetheless, we still had a good time just relaxing with friends."

The unseasonable temperatures were visible in the crossed arms and rattling teeth of many of the tubers. A few students donned wet suits to stay warm.

When parking lots filled to capacity with cars, drivers resorted to parking along the side of Vermont route 5. Norwich, Vt. Police dispatched tow trucks to remove the cars.

Many Greek houses took to the water on homemade rafts. Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity member Jason Hsiao '98 said members of his house spent all of Friday building a raft.

"Luckily it held up to the howling winds and gushing current," Hsiao said. "I guess our house engineers learned something from their bridge-making class."

Hsiao said they brought a grill onto their raft and barbecued five or six hot dogs before the rest were washed off by the water.

Spencer Doyle '98 said he sold about 600 tubes to students.

During the party, some students leapt into the river from the 50 foot-high roof of a house.

Weinberger said he was one of the students to jump.

"It was great, a total rush," Weinberger said. "I kept trying to drag more people up to jump with me."

By sundown, neglected inner tubes and empty cans of Milwaukee's Best beer lay strewn along the shore. Some beer cans, abandoned rafts and tubes were last seen floating south.

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