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Epic Flail

I am atop a 70-foot wooden landing, the timbered horizon of Butler, Ohio set before me in full view, a scenic panorama flanked by low, rolling hills and a buffet of marshmallow clouds in my sights. At my feet, I am confronted with steep, lubricated slide that finales into a goliath human takeoff ramp, shooting its [...]
Danny Hamen

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I am atop a 70-foot wooden landing, the timbered horizon of Butler, Ohio set before me in full view, a scenic panorama flanked by low, rolling hills and a buffet of marshmallow clouds in my sights.

At my feet, I am confronted with steep, lubricated slide that finales into a goliath human takeoff ramp, shooting its victim 25 feet into the air and into an underground pool.

The only guidelines I am given is to get a running start, dive headfirst, and to not look down once I am airborne, as it will cause me to careen forward and land on my face. As I make my way to edge of the structure, I look down with worry. Surely, no one has died on the Slip N’ Fly I remind myself, but goddamn a belly smacker sure seems painful.

In truth, the Slip N’ Fly is actually just a repurposed ski ramp designed by and for the true adrenaline freaks of Ohio. It belongs to the Ohio Dreams Network, an action sports training camp for 7 to 17 year olds. In order to practice tricks, like a no-hander 360 can-can, (you can’t make this shit up) riders would take their extreme ride of choice, be it a pair of skis or a BMX bike, down the ramp, landing safely into the swimming pool below. Well, one hot summer day, a 14-year-old camper facetiously suggested that they turn the trick ramp into a slip and slide for a day. Enthralled by the suggestion, camp owner, Chris Ashcraft, ran straight to Home Depot, bought a shit-ton of black tarps, and voila, the prototype of the Slip N’ Fly was birthed into creation.

As you can imagine, it wasn’t really that safe at that time, and only the adults were aloud to do it. Eventually, they decided to contact some builders and engineers to come up with a more permanent solution. That solution? A top-secret propriety, super slippery material that shoots its riders down the slide with comfort, grace, and a ludicrous amount of speed. For a while, the slide was just for the campers, until the adults started throwing private parties. Slowly but surely, the parties grew, until over 200 friends and acquaintances toppled one final private bash, triggering Ashcraft and his business partner, Justin Travis, to start throwing official events.

Soon, the slide sparked viral attention, the official “Legendary Slip N’ Fly” YouTube video now boasting well over a million hits. The first of its kind, The Slip N’ Fly has also been featured on popular fail compilations, such as Fail Army, of riders unsuccessfully completing their front flip and falling in excruciating looking positions.

Want to ride the Slip N’ Fly? Well, there are two events happening this month. First off is the Slip N Fly Country Fest on August 13. The official flyer depicts a gentleman wearing a turquoise studded cowboy hat and a Confederate flag button up shirt, viciously shredding a silver Fender held up with a yellow police line guitar strap. This, I would say, sums up what to expect at the country fest: A lot of good ol’ boys and girls playing honkytonk hits, and a lot of flying and falling.

Next up is the Sports and Music Fest, held August 19 – 21. Sponsored by New Belgium, there will be a full beer garden, camping, live music, and a lot of midair smiles. Tickets are going fast for this one, so get yours today if you want to face the Slip N’ Fly in the flesh.

Fortunately for me, I get to watch my tour guide, Bobby “Thor” Peterson—a ripped, longhaired thunder god of man—barrel his way down the slide before me. He skids down on his knees and wrists, whooshing forward like robotic ski dog, ramping into the air, and doing a couple back flips while he is at it, gracefully landing into the water feet first.

Easy right?

Now it is my turn. Being told to jump headfirst, belly down, essentially off a cliff is as intimidating as it sounds. I take a deep breath, step ten paces back, and pray to God. I start running forward, hesitate at mouth of slide, and kind of just plop my body onto the polymer luge. I glide downward, shrieking all the way to the entrance ramp. As I launch into the air, I focus on the horizon, try to not look down, and to give the Triple H, “Suck It” move a try. Splash!

Yeah, I was hooked. Over and over, I run up the stairs, fling myself down, and try to not scream obscenities in front of the children campers. All hail the Slip N’ Fly I say—truly an extreme wonder of the world, right here in rural Ohio.

For more, visit ohiodreams.com/photos/slip-n-fly.

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Cedar Point, Kings Island are suing to get you back

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It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Columbus Zoo & Aquarium are allowed to re-open but Cedar Point and Kings Island have been snubbed in Gov. Mike DeWine’s most recent announcement that Ohio’s entertainment venues were allowed to re-open.

After being left out of the party, Cedar Point, Kalahari Resort and Kings Island sued the director of the Ohio Department of Health Thursday, arguing that Dr. Amy Acton doesn’t have the authority to keep the state’s amusement parks and waterparks shut down and in doing so is violating the park’s rights.

The lawsuit was brought by attorney Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. The county health departments for both parks were also named in the lawsuit.

No word yet from the Ohio Department of Health as to when, or if, either amusement park will be allowed to open in June.

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Updated hours for North Market as first Farmers’ Market of the season opens Saturday

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Get excited Columbus foodies - this Saturday marks the beginning of North Market’s Farmers’ Market season! The Farmers’ Market will tantalize your taste buds every Saturday this summer through October, from 8 a.m. until noon at the North Market outdoor plaza at 59 Spruce Street.

During the coronavirus pandemic, North Market provided customers with fresh pick-up bundles. Now they’ve updated their operating hours to give consumers who want to shop again a chance to pick their own culinary delights.

"The hope is that a gradual reopening will strike a balance between the desire to serve the public and still respect the very real health concerns still shared by merchants, public, and staff," said Rick Harrison Wolfe, North Market's executive director, in a press release Thursday.

The updated hours, which will go into effect this Sat., June 6, are as follows:

  • Monday - Tuesday: closed
  • Wednesday - Friday, Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

All of those in attendance will have to observe the following guidelines as outlined in a press release by North Market:

  • North Market's mask requirement that applies to indoor merchants and guests will also apply to all outdoor vendors and guests.
  • Access to each farmers' market booth will be limited. Markings on ground will indicate this requirement and will show the distance required between people. Only one person/group traveling together may be in each box at a time.
  • Several farms and vendors will offer contact-free shopping and pre-orders. North Market asks that guests pre-order and plan out shopping trips when possible. This helps keep crowds to a minimum and lines moving smoothly.
  • Farms and vendors will provide hand sanitizer for guest use.
  • North Market farms and vendors are committed to helping prevent the spread of illness by washing hands frequently, covering coughs/sneezes, staying home when sick, and avoiding exposure to others who are sick. We ask that all guests follow the same protocols and do not visit North Market or the Farmers' Market if feeling ill.
  • North Market farms and vendors will continue to strictly follow all local public health guidelines, safety protocols, and best practices.

If you’re interested in which merchants will be open on what days, North Market has been dedicated to providing you with that information during the pandemic. You can find the list, which is updated daily, here.

Although there are still limitations on indoor seating, outdoor seating on the porch and the farmers’ market plaza are currently available.

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Weekend Getaway: Ohio State Park lodges reopen

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Cooped up inside of our homes for the past few months, everyone could use a change of scenery. Luckily for those that love the great outdoors of Ohio, the perfect getaway is now possible once again.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced on May 28 that all nine Ohio State Park lodges would be reopened by June 5.

The places where you can escape to are listed below in order of closest proximity to Columbus to furthest:

  • Deer Creek
  • Burr Oak
  • Mohican Lodge
  • Salt Fork Lodge
  • Shawnee 
  • Hueston Woods
  • Maumee Bay
  • Punderson Manor

Director of State Park Lodges Tom Arvan had this to say in the May 28 press release:

“Our staff has been working diligently to ensure that guests return to a safe and sanitized environment following the CDC safety guidelines. Our goal is for our guests to feel comfortable as they enjoy the fun activities and relax in the natural beauty of the lodges and all the state parks have to offer this summer.”

Visit https://www.greatohiolodges.com/ to secure your much-needed wilderness adventure today.

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