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Salt Lake residents slip and slide at second Slide the City event (+video)

SALT LAKE CITY — Most chose to go on their bellies. Some slid on their backs. A few, the most adventurous, strapped GoPros to their heads or posed for selfies as they zipped down the 1,000 foot slip-and-slide on Main Street.

Whatever the method, about 3,000 people made it down the 1,000 foot water slide on Saturday at the second Slide the City event in Salt Lake.

"It was kind of costly, but it's worth it," said Langi Sofele, a Cottonwood Heights grandmother who brought her kids, nieces, nephews and grandchildren — about 20 members of her family in total — to the event.

"The best part is that it's unique," Sofele said. "This is once in a great while."

Sofele said the family had attended a wedding that morning, then changed into swimsuits for the water slide — and they still plan to make the 6 p.m. reception.

"Anything that keeps us active and together as a family," laughed Sofele's 24-year-old niece, Leima Moala, who said the event was "awesome."

Salt Lake County Health Department officials have kept a close watch on the Slide the City event after they fined organizers for health violations last year.

Department spokesperson Nicholas Rupp said health officials were concerned about the quality of the water and the leaking of the water into storm drains at last year's event — the first ever for the Salt Lake City-based company.

"Last year they were using construction trucks to transport the water, which had dirty, muddy water in it, so it contaminated the water," Rupp said.

"That dirty, slightly chlorinated water isn't allowed to be put directly into the environment," he added.

The health department initially denied Slide the City organizers permission to repeat the event this year. But they reversed their decision after the organization agreed to a raft of additional precautions, according to Rupp.

Among other provisions, the department requested that Slide the City organizers use only drinking-quality water for the slide, that they have EMT services on standby, and that they provide changing and handwashing areas.

Rupp said the health department also had staff on site at the event Saturday to assist event organizers.

Chris Cook, 16, said he enjoyed zipping down the slide and didn't think it was dangerous, even though he collided with his little brother.

"It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be," Cook said.

David Wulf, a Slide the City manager, said the permit process took longer this year than last, but managers worked closely with the health department.

“At first they were a little skeptical, but I think we won them over," said Wulf, who added that the company was expanding rapidly.

Slide the City will hold 60 water slide events in cities across the world this summer, he said. Next year, he predicts the company will expand to 90 cities.

Wulf surveyed the view from the bottom of the slide, which starts at the top of Main St. and ends near the Salt Lake Temple.

"My goal," he said, "is we have a picture in front of every major landmark in the country."


Twitter: DaphneChen_

Deseret News health reporter Daphne Chen took on Slide the City, Saturday, August 22, 2015.