Big sur­prises at Sk8Fest

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK

Sk8Fest – which runs this Satur­day, Aug. 12 at the Glen­garry Sports Palace – is the one day of the year when the gap be­tween gen­er­a­tions of skaters is bridged by trans­form­ing the hockey rink into a full-fea­ture in­door skatepark with over 40 ramps—in­clud­ing rails, half and quar­ter pipes, grind boxes, a wicked eight-foot vert ramp, and this year, big new sur­prises.

The event features 10 top-drawer bands from Ot­tawa, Mon­treal, Water­loo-Kitch­ener, Gatineau, Hawkes­bury and Alexan­dria who will take to the fes­ti­val’s stage while lo­cal com­pany AdLiBb looks af­ter the sound.

Doors open at 11 a.m. and that’s when you’ll see scores of hel­meted board­ers eye­ing this year’s set-up of su­per-sweet ob­sta­cles in­clud­ing a new ten-and-a-half-foot dou­ble-bar­rel shot­gun rail.

Alexan­dria Skate Team vol­un­teer Justin Sauvé and his crew have built a mini ver­sion of the Glen­garry Dis­trict High School dou­ble set stairs, the type of street ob­sta­cles skaters used be­fore Alexan­dria Skatepark was built in 2006.

“We also built more run-up plat­forms so there are 24 feet of flat top be­fore you hop down the set,“says Mr. Sauvé. “Lots of room to place your feet and get ready. The dou­ble set is fully in­ter­change­able and so you can choose be­tween a hubba or a rail ses­sion down it.”

Alexan­dria Skate Team vol­un­teers like Mr. Sauvé and other mem­bers of the orig­i­nal ac­tivist group who lob­bied for the first phase of Alexan­dria Skatepark will be there to watch young ones wob­bling on their mini-boards, run con­tests for best tricks, and keep an eagle eye out for safety haz­ards, like im­proper head pro­tec­tion.

The orig­i­nal Alexan­dria Skate Team mem­bers are guys in their 20s now, and while they all still skate, they’re also into cars. That’s why this year’s event also features a Show ’N Shine car show, a new car club for younger car en­thu­si­asts or­ga­nized by Low Ex­pec­ta­tions. There is no en­try fee for the car show and there will be prizes for best in class in do­mes­tic, im­port, clas­sic, truck and bike.

Bring your drive and show it off in the Glen­garry Sports Palace park­ing lot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sk8Fest, now in its 14th year, dou­bles as a fundraiser for the sec­ond phase of the skate park at the south­east end of Is­land Park in Alexan­dria. In 2004, the Alexan­dria Re­cre­ation As­so­ci­a­tion ap­proached Natalie St- De­nis, now a spe­cial se­nior as­sis­tant for the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, who agreed to be the Alexan­dria Skate Team spokesper­son and head the vol­un­teer team to raise funds, co­or­di­nate and over­see the con­struc­tion of the con­crete park.

Ms. St-De­nis re­ceived back­ing from lo­cal ser­vice groups -- the Li­ons, the Op­ti­mists, and the Riche­lieu clubs -- as well as from busi­nesses and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als.

Five-plus years in the mak­ing, the park opened to fan­fare in July of 2008.

Then-Alexan­dria mayor Grant Crack, now MPP for Glen­garry-Prescott-Rus­sell, helped se­cure fund­ing to make the $100,000 skate project in Alexan­dria a re­al­ity with the prom­ise that two more phases were in store.

“An es­ti­mate for the sec­ond phase would prob­a­bly come in at about $150,000 and that is way be­fore in-kind fund­ing,” says Alain Lau­zon, vol­un­teer or­ga­nizer of Sk8Fest and owner of AdLiBb mu­sic store. “We could cut costs ev­ery­where, in­clud­ing us­ing Justin Sauvé, a cer­ti­fied heavy equip­ment op­er­a­tor, to op­er­ate the Town­ship’s high­hoe ex­ca­va­tor for free.

“If the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would ac­tu­ally put the next phase into play, that’s when we could start ap­proach­ing lo­cal spon­sors.”

Mr. Lau­zon points out that the skate park has been rel­a­tively cheap for the town­ship to main­tain.

“There have been al­most zero main­te­nance costs -- not a sin­gle crack af­ter nine years,” he says. “Find me a skatepark in Canada this old that is this clean with no graf­fiti. It’s next to im­pos­si­ble.”

Sk8Fest is look­ing for vol­un­teers. High school stu­dents look­ing to col­lect vol­un­teer hours and any­one who would like to help set up the ramps can show up at 9 a.m. on Fri­day, Aug. 11, out­side AdLiBb Mu­sic (the for­mer Raage Skateshop) at 57 Kenyon St. W., in Alexan­dria. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. skate­fest. com or visit Sk8Fest on Face­book.

Ad­mis­sion to Sk8Fest is $5, or $10 if you wish to skate.

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

READY TO ROLL: Justin Sauvé, left, Sk8Fest’s pro­mo­tions head and one of the found­ing mem­bers of Alexan­dria Skate Team that lob­bied for the first phase of Alexan­dria Skatepark, Alain Lau­zon, or­ga­nizer of Sk8Fest, and Sk8fest vol­un­teer Josh Boisv­enue sit...

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