If you build it, they will slide.
A Morristown summer tradition continued Wednesday when “Wet N’ Wild Wednesday,” sponsored by the Morristown Parks and Recreation Department, kicked off in two sessions at Fred Miller Park.
A large crowd of children lined up near the Spoone Pavilion to slide down two plastic sliding lanes to the bottom of the hill where volunteers were waiting with a thick foam wall to help cushion impact.
Many of the children have participated for years, while others were there for the first time.
Jennifer Gentry, program coordinator of Morristown Parks and Rec, has been part of the event since 2013.
“This is one of Craig’s (Price, Parks and Rec director) adventures,” Gentry said. “We just continued on with it.”
A mini-course for smaller children, introduced last year, was added next to the pavilion.
“It’s pretty simple, but it’s one of the most fun events we have,” she said. “Kids of all ages can come and do it. It’s kid friendly”
Water is pumped from the top of the hill through fire hoses and baby shampoo is added for added sliding.
“After we’re done with them, they’ve played all day, you don’t have to give them a bath, just kidding,” she said. “They’re good and clean!”
The event is done once a year. Gentry said it is always a big undertaking.
“The maintenance crew does an amazing job. It takes almost everyone on staff to come out, roll the plastic with foam and set it up. I have four staff and five volunteers who are helping. It’s a small little feat.
“It’s a blast,” Gentry said. “I love it.”
The Fred Miller Park Splash Pad was also open during the event so children could go to either place.
“We’re very blessed with beautiful parks all around the city and with diligent hours. The heat has been hard on our crews and I’m extremely grateful,” she said.
Parents interviewed loved the event.
“I think it’s awesome and my little one is having a blast,” parent Barbara McCamey said. “We can count on it being here and something to look forward to for next year. I didn’t realize that this was today, but when I found out about this, this is a unique experience.”
“We’re here every year. We love it,” said Brittany Metcalf, who brought three children. “It definitely serves as a break to get the kids out of the house. The kids get their exercise by running up the hill.”
Ashley Shockley had a 12-year-old child participating.
“I think this is pretty cool,” she said. “It gives the kids something to do over the summer.”
One child from Ohio came to the event.
“I think it’s awesomely good,” said Jessee Fields, a rising sixth-grader from Ohio. “It can’t be awesome or good, it’s awesomely good!”
Two other children gave it “two thumbs up.”
Zach Coffey State Farm Insurance took care of those who forgot the sunscreen and water by supplying both at their booth.
“This is our first event for Wet N’ Wild Wednesday,” said Michelle Ronsse, of the State Farm office. “We partner a lot with Parks and Rec on events they do. Jennifer asked if we could sponsor. We were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. Most people forget sunscreen and water on a day like today.”
Also, New Beginnings Ministries of Whitesburg, was taking registration for children to give away backpacks for back to school.
“Our children’s church department and our church is giving away 75 backpacks for back to school,” Sister Mariah McClain said. “We’re filling them with basic school supplies. Our goal is to reach the families who are truly in need that maybe can’t afford to buy school supplies for their families. We are really reaching out to the community this year and we want to be a blessing.”
The giveaways will be held starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 27 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, located at 350 West Ninth North Street in Morristown.
“That day the children will receive a backpack along with a hot dog, chips and a drink,” she said.
Gentry noted that the Parks and Rec Department partners with the community on most events.
“When we have an opportunity to share with the community, we’ll ask extras come out and be a part,” Gentry said.