A neighborhood known for its bars and restaurants became a one-inflatable-ride theme park Saturday as thousands of people squeezed onto Glenwood Avenue hoping to zip down a giant slip-and-slide.
Lines stretched more three blocks down both sides of Glenwood, then turned the corners and extended another block. Ticket holders waited an hour and more for their turn to careen down the slide, or in some cases, push themselves down.
Sliding required some technique, said Alana Stanley, 23, a recent N.C. State grad. “You have to get a good running start.”
The slide ticket was a graduation gift from Stanley’s friend, Hannah Elawar, 22, who was there with her.
Part of the fun was watching people in tubes bounce off each other, they agreed.
“It’s like human bowling,” Elawar said.
They were waiting to go down the 1,000-foot slide a third time and figured that they’d be in line for an hour. They said the experience of sliding down the streets of Raleigh was worth it.
Buying tickets is something Elawar said she’d do again, but not for $50. “That’s a little much,” she said.
Since last year, Utah-based Slide the City has been taking its inflatable slide to cities around the country. This is its first time in Raleigh, and the event was sold out. Five thousands tickets, from $15 for a single ride to $60 for an all-day pass, were sold.
Meredith Dalenburg, one of the Slide the City event directors, said the Raleigh crowd was the company’s biggest this year. Patrons are interested in the slide, she said, because it evokes childhood, backyard fun.
“The idea behind it is let’s make it really huge and bigger, ’cause bigger is better,” she said. “Why not do it when you’re an adult when it’s 1,000 feet?”
For some ticket holders, it was the line to the slide that inspired awe. A family uttered “Oh, my God,” in unison as they approached the end of the line. “Aw, hell no,” said another young woman as she turned a corner after passing hundreds of people in line and saw dozens more waiting. She strategized aloud about returning later in the afternoon.
A Glenwood South business group brought the slide to attract families to the area. Restaurants were packed. Spectators watched the sliders from their apartment balconies and the Hibernian pub second-floor terrace. Some patrons with chairs and umbrellas turned parking lots into beach parties without the sand.
Noir bar would have opened at 5 p.m. but started early to take advantage of the additional business the event would bring, said employee Matthew Burnhan.
Sliding wasn’t just for the young at heart but for the truly young. Veronica Sawyer and her son Skylar, 6, took a selfie together after their ride.
Skylar said the slide was “good,” but he wouldn’t do it again. His mom said Skylar was impatient with the wait, and kept asking how long it was going to take to get to the front of the line.
Sawyer, who lives in Garner, said that for her, the slide was worth the wait, but Skylar “doesn’t want to do the line again.”