Pick up a skateboard and get ready to shred some slopes at the upcoming Skate Jam fundraiser on Oct. 16 at the Athens Skate Park, behind 701 E. State St. The fundraiser will feature a skateboard competition, live music from local bands, local breweries and many more fun packed activities where all proceeds come to support a good cause.
The Skate Jam fundraiser, like many ideas, started with a need for change.
In recent years, the Athens Skate Park has become outdated, with concrete cracks littering the drop zone and foundation. As the skatepark continued to sit disheveled and out of shape, Emmett Mosghsa, friend of Skate Jam coordinators, came up with the idea of a fundraiser to raise funds for the Athens Skate Park.
Andrea Baird, co-organizer of Skate Jam and director of the Resiliency Center, said the repairs to the skatepark are much-needed and the fundraiser is hoping to accomplish getting those done.
“Repairs for the skatepark could range from minor concrete repairs, temporary all the way to a little bit more serious repair to certain parts of it that would need a bit more longevity,” Baird said. “There’s also the option that it could turn into just an addition. It all just depends on how much we make.”
Funding the event is Sojourners Care Network, a non-profit youth organization based out of McArthur, Ohio. Just recently, as of October 2020, Sojourners moved part of its organization to Athens creating The Resiliency Center here on campus. The Resiliency Center, just like the organization itself, hosts many programs focused on youth empowerment.
The proceeds for Skate Jam will be split in two: half going toward repairs to the Athens Skate Park and half going to the Resiliency Center for youth programs.
Charlie Milter, co-organizer of Skate Jam, discussed how Sojourners involvement helped build this small-scale idea into a full fledged fundraiser.
“It started as this idea to just have some bands at the park,” Milter said. “And then getting Sojourners involved was when we were able to really turn it into a proper fundraiser. We’re hoping that we are going to be able to raise enough funds toward pretty needed repairs at the skatepark, as well as get some funds into the Sojourners Care Network.”
The fundraiser’s main event will be the all-inclusive skate competition. The skate competition is for anybody to participate and participants can sign up the day of the event, free of charge.
In between the skate competition, there will be live music playing from several local bands including Peachfuzz, The Wastemen, Hydrone, Brood-X, The D-Rays and Dana.
With live music mixed into the competition, Milter discussed how important incorporating local music was to the event.
“Music is extremely important to both of us and it is one of the things that was part of the whole reason we’re doing this,” Milter said. “The music is not necessarily for the crowd there; the music is for the skaters to be able to skate. It’s something that most people in skate culture are super hyped and amped about; just really, really happy to be able to play with a live band.”
Besides the skate competition and music, the event will feature the famous Appalachian roller derby team the Appalachian Hell Betties and art from Passion Works Art Studio.
Many local shops and vendors also stepped forward to support the community event.
Local shops and vendors include, but are not limited to, Passion Works Art Studio, West End CiderHouse, Jackie O’s Brewery, Devil’s Kettle Brewing and more.
The Union, 18 W. Union St., will also be hosting an after show featuring DJ Barticus, Red Devil Ryders and Actual Form.
With the overwhelming amount of support from the community, Milter thanked all of the local vendors who have stepped up to the plate and helped them expand the once small idea into Skate Jam.
“It’s almost spiraled out of mine and Andrea’s control because it’s not really so much our effort as to why it’s gained momentum, it’s more that everyone that we have asked to be a part of it has been so overwhelmingly positive and willing to volunteer their time and volunteer their products and their energy,” Milter said. “It really is about the Athens community coming together to do something that everybody wants to do.”
Madeline Kramer, recruitment coordinator for the Resiliency Center, said she’s excited for Skate Jam and encourages all students to come.
“It’s gonna be a blast,” Kramer said. “It’s not that expensive to get in and you can come in and stay all day or leave and come back. I think it’s a really good way to connect outside of OU, it’s not that far for students.”
Follow the Skate Jam on Instagram @skatejamathens.