A 1,000-foot water slide was a cool way to spend a torrid Saturday in downtown Columbia for scores of Midlands residents.
“It’s an awesome way to spend the day,” Tracy Young of Columbia said as she prepared for another 30-second ride on an inflated tube on a water-slickened vinyl track down Gadsden Street next to Finlay Park.
The two-block descent into a splash pool appealed to the daredevil in some. “It is like an adrenalin rush,” said Jessica Muse, who lives a block from the site. “It is a quick fix.”
For others, it was an adult version of running through a lawn sprinkler. “It just brings out the kid in you,” said Chris Hamm, 32, of West Columbia.
Smiles and shouts of glee abounded as some sliders took selfie videos of their experience.
Lines moved quicker than the slide’s debut a year ago, so repeat trips happened without much wait.
“You learn and you evolve,” said former state representative Anton Gunn, who help organize the one-day event.
The ups-and-downs of climbing a hill slightly longer than a football field for another ride proved too much for some who left before the allotted time period on their purchased tickets expired.
“My legs have had enough,” said Shawn Lutz of Lexington, who is training for a marathon in the fall.
For Bonnie Watson, 32, the slide is another glimpse of how downtown has changed.
Downtown was where her parents used to go shopping. For her, downtown is an entertainment center.
“I love that a lot of exciting things are happening in the heart of the city,” Watson said.
Sentiment like that made the day for Mayor Steven Benjamin, who brought his family and friends to join him on the slide.
“Different season, different way to celebrate in making living in the city more enjoyable,” he said.
Amanda Sinkler, 47, of Lower Richland was attracted by the chance to experience fun in a new way.
“If it’s not on your bucket list,” she said of the slide, “put it on.”
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483