The water slide to end all water slides is coming to town.
Registration should begin at 9 a.m. April 29 for a Slide the City event in Fort Mill, officials said. Local coordinator Scott Bagwell ironed out a few final details with corporate staff last Wednesday night and is confident Fort Mill will host a June 6 event for the Charlotte market.
“The Charlotte market is actually this event,” he said. “This will be the closest event within 130 miles.”
The Fort Mill Town Council voted unanimously April 13 to allow A.O. Jones Boulevard and the parking lot at Nation Ford High School to host a June 6 Slide the City event. The decision allows live music and is similar to other events, like the S.C. Strawberry Festival.
Bagwell approached the town in January with a plan for a vinyl water slide as long as 1,000 feet running down A.O. Jones, as wide as three city streets. Rides would be 10 to 15 minutes each.
Such events can bring in up to 15,000 people.
The Slide the City company assumes liability and partners with local nonprofits for each event. Alcohol isn’t involved in the event, which is intended for all ages.
Even after the council decision, work is needed in collaboration with police and the school district to make sure adequate parking and traffic control is available.
Kimberly Starnes, town events coordinator, said there are options for detouring traffic or adjusting the length of the slide.
Parking at Nation Ford is a key point, she said.
“It needs to be the school lot,” Starnes said. “If we can work out the parking, it’ll go forward.”
Starnes is confident enough in where talks are with police and the school district to say the event will happen. “We feel good about it happening,” she said.
The council also approved dates and other permits for Fort Mill History Days on April 25-26, the S.C. Strawberry Festival on May 1-2 and First Friday Fort Mill on June 5, July 3 and Aug. 7. Those events all will be held downtown at Walter Elisha Park on North White Street.
The largest event again should be the Strawberry Festival, which last year drew 60,000 people. Starnes, also director of the festival, said there were more than 200 vendors last year, and the event in May is shaping up for another banner year.
The festival includes two music stages, eating contests, activities for children and booth displays.
Like Slide the City, the Strawberry Festival is expected to draw crowds from the greater Charlotte area and beyond.
“We also get some people from outside the South Carolina-North Carolina area,” Starnes said.
John Marks • 803-547-2353