A wet and wild Saturday: Dash N' Splash Fun Run and Downtown Summer Slide Festival
For the facilities and events department employees at Herald-Mail Media, The What’s NXT Downtown Summer Slide Festival is a lot of work, but the payoff is well worth the effort.
“We start at 4 o’clock in the morning and most times it’s like 7 (p.m.) when we’re done. It’s a long day, but it’s a lot of fun when you see all the families and the kids and the smiles on their faces,” said Larry Lane, who, along with co-worker Jeff Cunningham, does most of the heavy lifting for the slide, being sponsored by What’s NXT for the fourth consecutive year.
This year the event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. The slide is situated on what some people in the area describe as “Suicide Hill,” the top of West Baltimore Street, and extends onto South Prospect and South Walnut streets. And the slide goes all the way down.
“We put four sections in, and they’re 87 feet, each section, so you can do the math, but it’s over 350 feet. Then by the time you get down to the bottom, it levels off and we have a pool of water down there that slows everybody down at the bottom, but some of the people skid on through, right onto the grass. So it’s fun,” Lane said with a laugh.
Another major component of the event is the water.
“The (Hagerstown) fire department brings a pumper to the top of the hill at South Prospect Street, and there’s a hydrant there and we tie into that hydrant and they put a meter on it to meter our water so we get charged for the water, but the thing is the fire department flows the water down through the slide for that and then we can hook other hydrants to it for our mist and other things that we want to use it for,” Lane explained.
Herald-Mail Media events coordinator Kim Tagg said the event promises something for any taste. “There’s gonna be a dunk tank, more food vendors this time. We have volunteers coming in to help, we also have Hagerstown Honda and Hagerstown Kia, they’re going to have cars there, they’re our main sponsors. So it’s something for everyone,” she said, noting that the streets in the area of the slide will be closed in the interest of safety.
“We’re expecting a (larger) turnout because of the word getting out, how fun it was from last year. We have a lot of great vendors coming, a great kids area, a rock wall, just a lot of great things to do. Great food vendors are going to be there, we have a DJ playing music, it’s just going to be a lot of fun, and it’s for the whole family to enjoy,” she said.
In addition to the rock wall, a bounce house and other children’s activities are expected, along with even more chances to get wet.
New this year will be the addition of a water arch.
“(We) probably have three different places throughout the slide where we’re putting a mist curtain that (participants will) be going through as they go down the slide. Last year we had people with squirt guns and it was fun, but we just thought we’d improve it,” Lane said.
How long does it take for the average individual to make their way down the slide? Lane said, it varies.
“Well, it really depends on the size of the person. Some of the children, the smaller they are, the slower they are coming down. Someone my size gets down in a hurry. So it does make a difference for the individuals,” he said.
While the forecast for Saturday calls for a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, with a high of 81 degrees in Hagerstown, Tagg said she is optimistic about the weather.
“We’re hoping for no rain. Last year we had an absolutely beautiful day. So we’re hoping it will be just as nice,” she said. “It’s gonna be great, come on out.”
A one-mile fun fun or walk is being held in conjunction with the Downtown Summer Slide Festival.
The Dash N’ Splash Fun Run, sponsored by the City of Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Department begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Antietam Street entrance to the Cultural Trail.
“(The event) was developed as a way get people downtown to experience the new Cultural Trail, and also a way to keep people moving. Our goal as the Parks and Recreation Department for the City, is to look for new ways to keep people moving outdoors and keep people enjoying health and fitness, said Amy Riley, recreation coordinator for the City of Hagerstown.
The Dash N’ Splash has a unique component, hence the term “splash,” according to Riley. “It is a one-mile fun run or walk, it’s not a timed race. But you will expect to get splashed with water along the way. We’re setting up different splash stations along the route to just make it fun, it’s summertime, its gonna be hot out, so we wanted to make it more of a family fun experience with the water stations.”
There are different levels of participation with the Dash N’ Splash. A single ticket includes the fun run, one VIP slide, and a runner’s bag for $15. An unlimited Dash N’ Splash ticket includes fun run, unlimited slides, and a runner’s bag for $35. The unlimited Dash N’ Splash family four pack consists of the fun run, unlimited slides, and a runner’s bag for $60. “If you just register for the Dash N’ Splash, the really cool part is that you get the first VIP slide of the day. So after you finish the 1-mile fun run, you’ll be the first in line for the Summer Slide,” Riley said.
Advance registration is encouraged and is available at www.showclix.com, or register in the Herald-Mail Media parking lot before 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. Parking for Dash N’ Splash participants is available at Herald-Mail Media.
Riley said the event will be full of surprises.
“Expect a lot of unique splash stations. We do have a fire truck involved, and (you can) experience what it’s like to be splashed by a fire hose,” she said.