Chances are if you grew up in Edmonton, or you attended the K-Days midway, you have taken the long walk up the stairs carrying a burlap sack and slid down Edmonton’s iconic Giant Yellow Slide; usually more than once.
Did you know that for the past 44-years the slide profits help pay for an iconic event; the Edmonton Kiwanis Music Festival?
In 1908, with the encouragement of Governor General Earl Grey, the oldest and longest running competitive music festival in Canada, started right here in Edmonton. In 2017, its 119th year, more than 2,500 participants took part in the festival. The Kiwanis Festival ensures winners receive scholarships to further their education.
“It is not just the Kiwanis Club and music competitors that benefit greatly from the slide,” explains Dick Southworth, co-chair of the Kiwanis Giant Slide. “This year the Girl Guides provided 40 volunteers. We are proud to make a donation back to them which, in turn, helps pay for their 2019 service trip to Japan.”
Southworth slides in some praise, “We are thankful for Northlands. They provided the space to our organization. We have had a great relationship from the outset.”
The service group took a chance when it was purchased the slide from a California businessman in 1973. Aside from safety improvements the slide has not changed much, while the fun and memories continue.
Southworth describes a couple who, in 2012 the group closed the slide. “Mr. and Mrs. Rattray, they had just been married, and their full wedding party, climbed up the stairs and raced down.” They told the media on site that day that they rode the slide on their first date.
When asked what the most common phrase heard at the bottom of the Kiwanis Giant Slide the answer was simple. “I want to go again. One night I saw a seven year old, grab a sack, run up, slide down, run back up and slide down for an hour and a half, until his mom convinced him it was time to go home.”