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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Pacific NW

Huge Richland water slide ‘a step up’ from slip-and-slides

By Sean Bassinger Tri-City Herald

Every summer, Cody Gadeberg and Fernando Ayala would make their own slip-and-slides when they were kids.

But on Saturday, with inner tubes in hand, the two friends were ready for a bigger challenge as they stood atop a 1,000-foot water slide going down Lee Street in Richland.

“I haven’t done it yet, but I’m pretty excited,” said Gadeberg, 23, of Kennewick.

Ayala, 23, of Kennewick, referred to it as “going to the big leagues.”

“This is a step up for us,” Ayala said.

They weren’t alone.

Vicki Gadeberg, Cody’s mom, also remembered her son’s slip-and-slides from summers past. She planned to do a few more tricks on the way down this one.

“This is way more awesome,” she said. “We’ll be spinning and crashing.”

More than 3,000 people showed up to bask in the sun and enjoy food and live music for Slide the City’s Richland event, the first of its kind to hit the state of Washington.

At least 1,500 zoomed down the slide themselves, said Rachel Thomas, Slide the City’s event coordinator.

The slide started at Thayer Drive and continued down Lee Street, just about a block away from the Albertsons store, where more than 10 vendors set up shop.

Anyone approaching from as far away as George Washington Way could see the neon green slide span through the street.

Slide the City was two years in the making, since the Utah-based organization had to wait on a state health permit, Thomas said.

The company had planned a slide event last August in Spokane but canceled it when the permits didn’t come through.

The massive slide, which used about 80,000 gallons of water for the day, had an average wait time of five to 10 minutes, Thomas said.

“It has never gotten past 15 minutes,” she said.

As many as four at once could slide down the middle row. The Gadebergs and Ayala reached the bottom in less than a minute.

“That was fast!” said Vicki Gadeberg. “That was well worth it. I made it clear to the bottom.”

Extra help from volunteers and support from the city of Richland made the event a good fit for the Tri-Cities, Thomas said.

“That’s kind of a big reason why we wanted to come to this city in the first place,” she said. “Everybody’s local, except for my staff.”

More than 60 volunteers were from the Tri-Cities.

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