On August 30, traffic patterns in a portion of the City of Bristol, Virginia, will be dramatically altered. For three city blocks, from the top near Solar Street, to the bottom across Piedmont Avenue, the only way to navigate that section of town will be by slip sliding your way down on tubes and rafts, as Cumberplunge 2014 transforms the streets into a giant water slide.
Organized by Quaker Steak & Lube, this event is geared to be as much fun for spectators, as for sliders.
"We embrace any event that builds upon the excitement and synergy we have going on downtown," said JJ Gillenwater, co-owner of the Bristol eatery. "This idea is just over the top, and we can't wait to present this slippery parade," he added.
To add to the spectacle, participants are encouraged to dress in costumes and outlandish attire.
"Although not a requirement, we hope people will consider themselves as a parade float in a really steep and fast parade," said Gillenwater. "Participants can just slide their way through Bristol, but we hope to see unique and eye-catching characters plunging down the 500-foot, 12-degree grade," he added.
"We expect demand to be high for this first-time event, but only 400 lucky entrants will get a "Golden Ticket" to slide," said Gillenwater.
Of the 400 participants, 300 will be selected by a random draw, with a committee choosing the last 100 applications based on creativity and crowd appeal. It will be an elite group," he added.
Viewing areas will be established all along the slide route, so those who would rather stay dry can watch from the sidelines.
"To further encourage creativity, we are considering judging in several categories to increase the competition," Gillenwater said.
"Cumberplunge 2014 is going to be a day of pure fun, just for the sake of fun," said Bristol, Virginia, Mayor Catherine Brillhart. "It will be a time to celebrate the residents of our city, and bond further as a community," she added.
According to Brillhart, the visitor traffic generated by this event could be significant for both Bristols.
"When our sister city, Bristol, England, hosted a similar event this past May, nearly 100,000 applicants vied for only 360 tickets to ride the slide. Brillhart added that 60,000 showed up merely to watch.
Brillhart added that the Bristol, Virginia event will be double the fun, with two tracks allowing for side-by-side racing.
"We appreciate Quaker Steak & Lube taking the lead on this event, and think that it will certainly provide yet another reason for visitors to be excited about coming to Bristol," she added.
Participants must be 12 years of age or older to take the plunge, and anyone under the age of 16 must have signed parental or guardian consent to slide. Rules and regulations, as well as applications, will be available on the City of Bristol website, bristolva.org, by the end of the week.
Cumberplunge 2014 will be held from 12pm until 4 pm. The event is free and open to the public. The festivities will continue with food, games, fun for all ages and live music downtown until midnight at Quaker Steak & Lube.