It is a summer weekend. Work dragged all week, and it is time for some fun in the sun. For the local party people, Cocktail Cove is calling.
Although boating coves on Geist Reservoir have been around for as long as locals can remember, many are still unsure of the nature of the notorious Cocktail Cove. The “party” location has shifted over time, but the atmosphere thrives as the boaters stay dedicated to their weekends shared on Cocktail Cove.
Each weekend, when the sun shines high in the sky, the boats begin their parade into the Cove. The tie-up can be large, often 20 boats, all strung together using rope, the result being one big party in which people can hop from boat to boat, socializing, drinking, and soaking up the rays.
Boater Jay Gagne described a typical tie-up as “Broad Ripple on boats. Each boat has its own distinct personality, like a street lined with various bars and clubs. The sound systems are cranking; many boats blare country, some rap, and others club music.” It seems as if the boats would be in competition with one another, but the variety in the tie-up works on Cocktail Cove, encouraging swim-clad party goers to mix up their social networks and meet new people.
Not everyone on Geist Reservoir seems to appreciate the party atmosphere as much as the boaters. The Cove is lined with beautiful homes, and many homeowners are not thrilled about the party being held just beyond their back yard. DNR officer Bollman explained, “People have a right to look out their windows and not see nudity and drunkenness. Also, if the music is too loud, they are violating a town ordinance.” The DNR’s stance is that if boaters are obeying the city, county, and state laws, then there is no problem; but once those laws are broken, boaters will have to deal with the consequences in the form of warnings, tickets, and possible arrests.
From the boaters’ perspective, the Cove tie-up is a weekly summertime social event not to be missed. The crowd may often be loud and the bikinis small, but the entertainment value is priceless. Cocktail Cove is not necessarily a location on the Reservoir; it is a summertime way of life. Here, the drinks flow, the music blasts, new friends are made, and old friends are celebrated.
Gagne summed up the attitude of the Cove dwellers, “Despite our jobs, our income, our social standing, or our political affiliation, we all have one commonality, and that is the love of water, music, and good people.”