KENNESAW — Sidewalk surfers rolled over to Swift-Cantrell’s skatepark Monday for Go Skateboarding Day, an international celebration of skateboarding on the longest day of the year.
Sponsored by the city, the event included hot dogs, Italian ice and electronic music.
“When you have a day like Go Skateboarding Day, we want to celebrate that,” said Steven Roberts, the city’s parks director.
Although the event was advertised from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the 40,000 square-foot skatepark was filled with the sounds of nearly 150 skaters scraping their wooden boards on steel rails and scuffing their rubber-soled Vans on sidewalks by 5 p.m.
Around 6:30 p.m., the ramps and rails were slick with heavy raindrops that sent the skaters fleeing. City officials packed up their sound system and huddled under tents to avoid the rain.
Most attendees never resumed skating during the scattered rain storms — wet ramps cause face-plants.
Despite the early ending, skaters around the park relished the opportunity to connect with friends and celebrate their favorite hobby.
“Days like today remind us that we have a lifetime with skateboarding, and I want to be here until the end,” said Richie Weathersby, a skater of 25 years.
For 18-year-old Redd Rose, skating is more than a hobby — it’s a way to carry on the legacy of his older brother, Jojo, who initially introduced him to skateboarding but died in a gang-related accident nearly five years ago.
“The only way for me to really connect with him is through skating,” Rose said.
Swift-Cantrell Park began hosting Go Skateboarding Day when the skatepark opened in 2014. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Go Skateboarding Day was a virtual celebration with a video contest for the best trick.
Brittani Farmer, a special events coordinator with the city, said it was important for Kennesaw to show its appreciation and support for the skating community that has thrived at the skatepark.
“Our skatepark community here is like a family,” Farmer said. “They really come together, they take care of one another … We just wanted to say ‘hi’ to them, and let them know that we are here for them.”