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Stores stock up on tubes, beer


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Published 2004-09-08T00:00:00Z”/>

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Lee Gordon<br>Staff Writer

Some planned ahead and bought tubes and rafts early. Others waited until Monday morning. But in the end, students still waited in line to fill their tubes before heading to the Sacramento River.

While the annual Labor Day float still loomed five days away, Ray’s Liquor’s night manager Erin Wilkins said people were already buying tubes and reserving kegs for the Labor Day weekend. And while he was expecting many more customers as the float neared, Wilkins said Ray’s was prepared.

“We have 2,000 tubes sitting in the basement,” he said on Sept. 1. “And they’ll all likely be sold this weekend.”

The Safeways on Nord and Mangrove avenues both had around 2,500 inflatable rafts for sale, Head Clerk Matt Krekel said. But unlike Ray’s, the Safeway on Nord did not sell many rafts by Thursday night.

“Most people just wait until the day of the float,” said Krekel. “Most come in on Sunday and Monday mornings.”

Tubes and rafts weren’t the only items in high demand over the weekend. Kegs were also popular choices for students looking to enjoy the three-day weekend. Wilkins estimated Ray’s purchased about 80 percent more alcohol for Labor Day.

To accommodate the rush for tubes, Ray’s doubled its staff numbers for the holiday weekend, Wilkins said. In addition to more cashiers and staff, Ray’s stayed open until 1:45 a.m. on Monday, which is almost three hours later than normal. Safeway did not make any changes.

Chico State student Christina Contento bought her raft early this year. She said she went on the float last year and didn’t get the raft she wanted because she waited too long.

“I didn’t plan on buying a raft early,” she said. “But I saw them and said ‘we should get these.'”

Junior Steve Pastryk said he was going to wait until Sunday afternoon to buy his tube or raft. When he went on the float two years ago, Pastryk bought his tube on the day of the float. This year, he said Sunday would be early enough.

“We’re just going to get everything prepared Sunday,” he said. “That way, all we need to do Monday is get our boozin’ shoes on.”

Lee Gordon can be reached at

<a href= “mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]</a>

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