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Summer kicks off on a slippery, wet note in Tampa

Published on: May 18, 2016

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

Tampa's North Boulevard Bridge over the Hillsborough River was closed on Saturday to make way for a 1,000-foot waterslide.

Tampa’s North Boulevard Bridge over the Hillsborough River was closed on Saturday to make way for a 1,000-foot waterslide.

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Tampa isn’t known for its hills, and for good reason: there aren’t any. But when you want to create what may well have been the world’s longest waterslide, creativity takes over and solutions are found. In a case this weekend, the hill was manmade — a bridge over the Hillsborough River northwest of downtown Tampa.

On Saturday, thousands of people turned out for a block party in a neighborhood near North Boulevard in Tampa. The party included vendor and sponsor booths but the centerpiece was the waterslide. It was 1,000 feet long, nearly a fifth of a mile, taking up the North Boulevard Bridge over the Hillsborough River.

According to the slide’s owner, Slide the City, the slide was “that humble backyard vinyl’s slip-and-slide’s big sister, all dressed up for an urban block party.” They described it as world-record in length that was created for a family-friendly event complete with live music, food, drinks and the “biggest slip-and-slide ever to hit asphalt.”

And yes, it was padded. And they warned of possible collisions and flying tubes, both occurring in abundance but to no harmful effect or injuries seen. It was just a day of slippery wet fun with the aim of kicking off summer in the Tampa Bay area.

While you’d think it would be a big attraction for children, it seemed to be a big draw for older kids as well, with ages of those sliding down the street ranging from the 20s to easily into the 60s.

The three-lane slide travels in cities throughout the country. For more information, visit www.slidethecity.com.

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