Hundreds of water slide enthusiasts braved toasty temperatures and hours of delays Saturday to set a Guinness World Record for the longest distance traveled on a slip-and-slide on a bridge just north of downtown.
Using math that we’re not going to try to explain, the record in the “Slide the City” event at PantherFest was a festive ending to an otherwise miserable day for those wanting to ride the slide.
The 1,710-foot water slide — it was billed as a 2,000-footer — blanketed a portion of the North Main Street bridge and was supposed to open at 10 a.m.. But a series of unfortunate malfunctions rendered the start of the event into a meltdown.
The slide eventually opened about 4:30 p.m., and the record attempt began about 5:30 p.m.
Those who had purchased tickets for the morning slide session were disappointed to find out that they would not get to ride the slide, though they were promised refunds.
“We’ll find some food and not make it a complete waste, but we’ll probably go swim at the hotel,” said Samantha Adkins, who brought her family to the event from Abilene.
MedStar reported that it treated at least 13 people for heat-related conditions, and Fort Worth firefighters had a firetruck on hand to douse folks with water to keep them cool.
The “Slide the City” event was the centerpiece of PantherFest, a Fort Worth-themed festival that featured live music, food and beer.
Officials with with the Trinity River Vision Authority, which sponsored the festival just north of downtown Fort Worth, said the morning cancellation came because of problems with the water pumps and the generators.
“We feel heartbroken that we had to pull the plug on the first half, and we’re trying to pull through for the evening crowd,” said Emerson Hamilton, the event director.
Lauren Prater said she drove to town from San Marcos just for the slide. She said it “makes me jealous” that those with tickets to the evening session will get to slide — and break a record.
The previous record, set in 2014 in Memphis, had 4,072 people sliding down a 33.36-foot slide in one hour for a cumulative of 135,841 feet.
Saturday’s record: 1,456 people sliding down the 1,710-foot slide in one hour for a cumulative of 2,541,060 feet, according to Guinness adjudicator Phillip Robertson.
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641
Mark David Smith, 817-390-7808