On enjoying K-Days this summer

Every year, my birthday is during K-days (and yes K-days has gone through some name changes, but whatever). And every year that I can, I try to volunteer at least a shift or more at the Kiwanis slide. It is the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton's largest fundraiser and helps fund all of our activities and programs for children of all ages. This year I volunteered three shifts at the slide. Two days were 4-8pm shifts (and I left the K-days grounds shortly thereafter), and one shift was noon-4pm (which was followed by my spending the rest of the day on the grounds to actually take in some of what K-days has to offer).

My slide shifts were great this year — while we were rained upon a lot this K-days, for all but 10 minutes of my slide volunteer shifts, the slide was open and running. This was great for me and my enjoyment of the slide. I also helped with slide set up the week before K-days. We had some interesting attendees this year during my shifts, the most interesting being a K-9 service dog in training went down with his trainer/owner twice. Quite a few people recognized me from Save-On-Foods (and I had to explain that I didn't work there anymore but yes, I did work there in the past). A few friends stopped by to ride the slide or just say hello. And I found out the winners of the best new food at K-days.

Food is important — it is rare that I go to K-days and not spend at least a bit of money on food. And with the knowledge of the top 3 rated places for new food at K-days I went and ate them all! The glazed donut grilled cheese sandwich was delicious and well deserving of the #1 award! I had the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich and while it wasn't as good as Schwartz's in Montreal (whatever is?!?) it was probably the second best I've had. And I did eventually have the root beer popsicle. I also really enjoyed the mini-donut popscicle (which had half a mini-donut in it!), the ruby sparkle lemonade with grapefruit and mint was great, and the red velvet mini donuts were pretty good too. I never made it to the nutella truck while it was open, and my other food adventures were decidedly mediocre (though filling which was the point at the time, I suppose.

This year's feature pavillion was Adrenaline Rush and well yesterday I had the time to really take that in. I won a free game (for one) at Breakout Entertainment (and I won a 20% off coupon on a different day too) as I figured out the second (but not the first on a different day) box puzzle I was given. I went and rode the inflatable zipline (and my arms are sore today from it — perhaps I need to take up chin ups or something?). I did the zorbing thing (which was exhausting but fun and crazy!) and I jumped from a platform to land on a big air pillow. I have no problem with heights but I was nervous/filled with adrenaline enough that I hesitated nearly ruining my jump… I was pretty jittery after but food helped. I also looked at the Australian animals, watched a trampoline show, and generally enjoyed the fact that so much stuff here was free!

The shopping at The Neighbourhood and at The Grand was not to my liking (yay for spending less money!) and while the video games looked like fun, they were super busy with kids so I didn't partake in those activities really. I did wander out and watched DJ Harman and his friend DJ Flash from Toronto spin some tunes. They played many crowd and fan favourites so that was fun to do as the rain calmed down just in time for the Presidents of the United States of America concert which I had been looking forward to for quite some time. I was standing right in front of the barrier (only Security between me and the band really) for the whole concert!! This was awesome — and they played my FAVOURITE song of theirs: Some Postman!! I was so floored and happy that they did that! They really did feel like rockstars on stage playing their 2 and 3 string guitars. The drumming was awesome, the crazy guitar moves were great and the show was such fun! Even the encore was entertaining with a wig and a tiny midway motorbike featuring strongly! Their biggest fan had come up from Seattle and she danced throughout the concert using a megaphone and did mosh through the crowd several times (including overtop of me which was a bit awkward — it had been AGES since I had been in a real moshpit and this one was an odd experience). There were others who moshed but she was the only one to do so several times. I was right beside a mother and her children (the girl being maybe 8ish? She seemed very young. The security guy who rescued the moshers before they fell to pavement wanted to make sure the kid was safe and that was a nice touch).

I don't think I ever realized just how many Presidents of the United States of America songs I knew until I watched them play this concert. They played so many songs, there was such great audience interaction (in the form of singing along etc!), and there was some real rockstar guitar moves (playing the 2-string behind the back, odd positions, balancing on the drumkit while the drummer was still drumming etc.).

The biggest downside to the concert (other than when someone moshed over me knocking my glasses ajar, which really isn't a huge problem in the longterm) was that there were 4 separate occasions where I was coughing and wheezing super badly because of pot smoke. It was bad enough at one point that the kind security guard offered to extricate me from my awesome spot if I needed it and the mother beside me inquired about me too. But I made it to the end of the concert happily.

I took the LRT home and watched the fireworks from the traincar. It was a good end of my K-days experience for another year.

On Slide the City (and other summer slides)…

This morning I awoke after nearly 10 hours of sleep (okay I was tired, my Kiwanis Slide shift yesterday tuckered me out more than I expected. But such is K-days and the fun of kids and adults enthusiastically conquering the stairs to slide down on the coffee sacks and run back to do it all over again. I still haven't slid down that slide yet this year but I have another couple of slide shifts before K-days is done so there's that.

I threw on a swim suit, a biking shirt (because I wanted a zippered pocket) and a wrap dress, grabbed my inner tube and mouthguard and walked down to Louise McKinney Riverfront Park for Slide the City. Slide the City seems to be an event coming to many cities across North America (and other iterations around the world) and it consists of a giant slip and slide that one gets to ride upon on an inner tube or another inflatable. The one in Edmonton is today and tomorrow and sold out remarkably quickly. There were three main purchase options: Single Slider, Triple Slider, and Super Slider (there were a few other options but these are the ones I know and understand best). Single Slider allowed for one single slide on the slide during your allotted time period. Triple slider provided three slides in that time period and Super Slider gave unlimited slides during a slightly longer time period. Triple slider also came with a drawsting bag, a temporary tattoo, a mouthguard, and an inner tube. I blew up my inner tube by mouth last night, but I could have paid $2 to have it blown up for me upon arrival on site.

The tickets themselves were kind of pricey but for a limited time only event like this one this doesn't seem unreasonable. That said the Canadian dollar isn't doing very well so the surprising fact that the tickets were charged in US dollars was not appreciated. Still, I think I got good value from the price I paid given the fact that I hadn't been on a slip-n-slide since I was a child (so probably like 20 years ago now).

The line wasn't terribly bad — it got better by the end of my sliding time (I was in the 10am-noon timeslot) because staff added some more tape preventing folks from changing lines, and making it more self-evident where to stand. Additionally there was music by a local radio station, EPCOR was handing out prizes and showering us with water from a watergun, there was free water from EPCOR, and you could spin a wheel for prizes (I didn't do most of these things because I didn't want to have to carry things around — I think the event would have benefited from lockers to store valuables nearby — a number of folks were carrying non-recommended items with them and that wasn't very strictly enforced). One of the often won prizes was a beach ball and so a number of these were being tossed about in the line as we waited.

When you got close enough to the front of the line, a security guard would mark (or cut off your bracelet) depending on how many rides you had paid for. Then there was a guy with a hose showering you with water as you prepared to slide. There were three lanes to choose from: Family, Group and Solo. I rode in the Group line for all three slides (even though I was by myself) as this line moved most quickly, it had the most space to spin/move around while sliding, and was the line I was directed to when I arrived. Unless you're with small children (or don't want to go fast/move around a lot), I think I would recommend this lane.

As for my three slides. The first one was the slowest — we were in the first wave of the day and so the slide wasn't as fast as it was likely to get later. But the folks in front of me got stuck and I ended up colliding with them. No injuries or anything thankfully. The second slide was quick and smooth. I spun a fair bit. The last slide was probably the fastest of my three. It was great: I was really zooming along until right near the end my ankle hit a barrier that was a bit bent up. This knocked off one of my water shoes, but I was eventually able to walk away without much trouble or anything (the lifeguard wasn't terribly helpful and I worry that that bent barrier will become a bigger hazard throughout the day but maybe they'll fix it?). They do have a couple of paramedics sitting on site but they didn't seem willing to get out of their vehicle unless someone was really injured — I was obviously okay and while I'm sure I'll be achy tomorrow from the unusual activity, I'll be fine as always.

I'm pretty thankful for the mouthguard (good idea!). Water shoes were a good call (either that or sandals that affix securely to one's feet!). I'm super glad I didn't bring anything that I didn't need. The weather couldn't have been any better for the event — much hotter and there would be more sunburns (I got a bit of a tan because I didn't bring extra sunscreen to reapply throughout the event, but no sunburns for me, thanks), colder and we would have been kind of miserable unless we all had wetsuits (unlikely). I kind of wish that they had enforced the rules that they had set regarding what to wear etc. more but that's the event organizers' thing. They had some food trucks for afterward and I was hungry so I ate a cheeseburger.

Probably my only real complaint about the event was the fact that someone was smoking pot in the path where people walked up to get back to the start of the slide. I had a hacking and wheezing fit for a while while I was trying to get away from the smoke and into the line again. This was unpleasant, but what could I really do about this? Nothing except what I did: get away from the smoke. At least walking up the path to the top of the hill was a nice gradual ascent and not steep stairs (not that I mind the Kiwanis slide stairs, but I certainly don't do those very often either).

I'm tired but happy. Riding the slide was exhilarating and well worth my time and money. Not something I would do very frequently, certainly, but it was fun! Most of the folks in line were really enthusiastic and looked to be having fun as well. I did recognize at least a couple of families in line and that was pretty neat in my books. I know that I know others who are sliding later today or tomorrow and I wish them all the best for an awesome time! If I owned a waterproof camera or phone it would have been nice to have some pictures of this day but I'm okay with just having had a great experience too! 🙂