Skating, street art and music are on deck for the Greenport Skate Park Festival, set for August 6

A sweltering heat wave hasn’t stopped a passionate group of volunteers from putting the finishing touches on repairs at the Greenport skatepark just in time for the Sound & Skate Festival, set for Saturday, August 6.

During weekly ‘work sessions’, a group of about six people have gathered to replace rotting wood, reinforce ramps and replace rusted nails at the facility on Moores Lane, which was built by the Village of Greenport in 1998. .

Last week, the group focused its efforts on building frames from plywood donated by Riverhead Building Supply for six-by-eight-foot canvases as part of a live graffiti and mural contest during the festival.

The competition will feature 25 street, graffiti and mural artists based in Long Island and New York City, said festival organizer Rena Wilhelm.

“They are all incredibly talented and all different,” she said. “Graffiti and urban art are all part of skate culture — and it’s all culture that we’re trying to showcase.”

The event will also feature 100 food, arts and crafts vendors, plus live skating demonstrations and a competition in all disciplines, including roller skating, skateboarding, scooters and BMX.

The East End Music Alliance has also organized a lineup of eight bands during the festival ranging from rock and roll, punk and ska to folk music.

“It’s a nice mix for everybody,” Wilhelm said.

Plans for the festival have been in the making for nearly three years. Although Wilhelm is not a skater herself, she was compelled to get involved after seeing a plea from a young skater, Dane Jensen, on social media.

“He was 11 at the time and was very upset by the state of the park. There was graffiti, things were being destroyed,” explained Wilhelm. “He asked his mum if she could post some pictures [a village Facebook group] and then you saw it. I thought, ‘OK. Let’s figure out what we have to do.”

Wilhelm, a Village resident who also owns The Weathered Barn on Front Street, saw Dane’s call to action as a way to bring the community together, from local residents and youth to local businesses and Village stakeholders.

One way to do that was by revitalizing the festival itself, which was inspired by a similar event hosted for several years by former North Fork residents and longtime park advocates Mike and Michelle Bendik.

“They’re the ones who basically created the festival,” Wilhelm explained, adding that the skate park committee is exploring ways to honor the couple in future projects.

Although the event faced pandemic-related delays, Wilhelm said the time allowed him to connect with more people to get the project off the ground and officially form Greenport Skate Park Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the park to its former glory. his previous one.

“There are people from the early 2000s who are now grown, in their 40s, and they remember the park for what it was,” Wilhelm said.

In addition to being Long Island’s first municipal skate park, the Greenport facility boasts a 12-foot ramp, a rarity, according to skaters.

Wilhelm said it’s important to restore the park both for those who are nostalgic for its heyday, but also to support the new generation of kids who make memories there.

“It’s something that this community really needs,” she said. “Especially in light of the pandemic. It is important that children are outside. They should be socialized.”

The project has already gained momentum and Wilhelm hopes it will continue.

In May, the group hosted “Decked Out,” a fundraiser that tied aspects of skate culture to a fashion show at the George D. Costello Sr. Memorial Rink. on Third Street that raised about $30,000.

Wilhelm also hopes to host another event at the rink this fall and auction off some of the paintings created during the festival.

Ultimately, the group’s goal is to make improvements to the facility estimated at $250,000 — a more likely option than a total overhaul that could top $1 million.

“We’re making sure we keep that in mind [skaters] likes and dislikes,” Wilhelm explained. The iconic ramp will remain, but new features like a skating bowl are also on the table, she said.

The local organization is also set to meet with Tito Porrata of Pivot Custom Skateparks about the design later in August. Porrata, which has been designing and building skate parks since 1995, is also involved in the ongoing renovation and expansion of the Montauk skate park, as well as a project in Southampton.

“He offered to help us develop plans and construction documents so we could figure out how to execute a new design that also works with the old equipment,” Wilhelm said.

With just over a week to go, the group continues to gather at the park to prepare the ground. This week, several ramps are slated for a new coat of paint that Wilhelm said was provided by the village.

“It’s a way to give back and get involved in a community that’s really special,” she said.

The Sound & Skate Festival will be held on Saturday, August 6th from 10am to 8pm at Moores Lane Skate Park in Greenport. All ages are welcome and you can even bring your dog along! To learn more about the festival and the ongoing revitalization initiative, visit greenportskatepark.org or follow them on Instagram @greenportskatepark.

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