Hit and push to the Skate Jam as the fundraiser returns for its second year this Saturday, August 27, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Housed in Athens Skate Park, behind 701 E. State St. and along the Hockhocking Adena Bike Trail, Skate Jam is a community fundraiser, skate competition, live music venue, vendor and pop -up food, a resource fair, an open skate session and a learning opportunity all rolled into one.
“It’s for the kids, but also for the community,” said Charlie Milter, co-organizer of this year’s Skate Jam. “People need s — like this, events that are about being outside and connecting with other people and not having it cost an arm and a leg to do it.”
This year’s event will feature skaters from across Ohio and bands from the Midwest, including Milk Bath from Detroit, The Sueves from Chicago, Peachfuzz from Athens and many more. Prior to Saturday’s one-day event, there will be a Friday night pre-event skate film screening at the skate park, and an after party Saturday night at The Union.
Proceeds from Skate Jam are split in half between the Sojourners Resiliency Center, a nonprofit in Athens, Ohio based on positive youth development, and for the construction and renovation of Athens Skate Park. During Skate Jam’s first year of events, enough funds were raised to build a new brick bank at the skate park. After this year, event co-organizers Milter and Andrea Baird, along with volunteer Emmett Mascha, hope enough money will be raised to add street skateboarding features to the Athens Skate Park, making it more accessible to beginner skateboarders and rollerbladers.
“There is nothing small to learn in this park and I see children there all the time,” Mascha said. “(We try) to make it more accessible to beginners that way. It was built in 2003, but for about 20 years the city somehow neglected to maintain it.
Proceeds from the Sojourners Resiliency Center help the organization continue its free daily programming which includes foster care, education and a homelessness prevention program for youth ages 14-21.
Andrea Baird, street outreach coordinator at Sojourners Resiliency Center and co-organizer of Skate Jam, estimated that the last time an event happened at Athens Skate Park before last year’s Skate Jam was in 2014, so the Skate Jam event fills a void.
“They go together, watching music and watching skateboarding,” Baird said.
The event is always looking for volunteers, who will work three-hour shifts and receive free entry and a free t-shirt. For more information about volunteering or the event, visit Skate Jam’s Instagram or email [email protected]