Large crowds are expected for the Lawrence Aquatic Center's fun-filled "Pool Blast" Saturday afternoon.
A word of advice for eager swimmers piling into the new Lawrence Aquatic Center early Saturday afternoon: Don't forget the sunscreen.
When the new outdoor pool opens for recreational swimming at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, only locker rooms, table umbrellas and the cool blue water will offer respites from the sweltering midday sun.
The pool's large wooden shade structure won't be finished until next week, officials said.
"We want people to be cautious and be aware of the weather," said Fred DeVictor, the city's director of parks and recreation. "We don't advise that they come and stay all day long. ... It sounds like there's going to be record heat. People who haven't been used to staying out in the heat for a long period of time should be careful."
Work crews will battle the sun until Saturday morning, when they put the finishing touches on exterior fences and concrete pads at the pool, 739 Ky. Crews tested water slides Thursday afternoon and declared both ready to go for Saturday, DeVictor said.
City officials are planning to start the festivities at 1:15 p.m. Saturday with a ribbon-cutting, comments from dignitaries and a ceremonial first pour -- a gallon of water taken from the Lawrence Municipal Pool last year -- into the new 550,000-gallon aquatic center.
With the $2.88 million project ready to open for public swimming nearly two months after its initial deadline, officials are preparing for large crowds during the "Pool Blast" planned for Saturday afternoon.
From 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., officials will give away gift certificates, ice cream coupons, swim bags, swim tickets, T-shirts and other items. The concessions stand will offer specials on refreshments.
Contests will include swimming races, dives for pennies and attempts to cross a new lily-pad walk without falling in the drink.
"It's a fun-filled afternoon," DeVictor said.
The pool will remain open for swimming until 10 p.m. Saturday, then reopen for recreational swimming from 1:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. After that, the pool's rec swims will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 1:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.