BRATTLEBORO -- Today, is Go Skateboarding Day.
For some, it is just another day. But for millions of people like Marty Vallender, it's a holiday, a celebration of all things skateboarding.
"It's a day that brings the greater sporting community together," said Vallender, president of BASIC, or Brattleboro Area Skatepark Is Coming. "I'll watch someone go hard (skate) for three or four hours, then they'll take a ten minute break. Then they're right back on the board. These are the people we stay involved with and are working for."
BASIC's ultimate goal, is to find local skaters like ones Vallender describes above, a place to go, skate freely, and not be harassed.
Vallender said that Go Skateboarding Day is one way to help spread that message.
"It's also a good excuse to be outside," he said.
So far, the skateboarding advocacy group has raised about $92K of the $300K that is required to move ahead with their proposed plan to build a 10,000 square-foot "low-maintenance" skatepark near Crowell Park, on Western Avenue in Brattleboro. The money is being raised through pledges, private grants and donations.
"We're getting closer with our fundraising goals," said Vallender. "We are hitting a point where the momentum is really building and we are taking concrete steps toward our long range goals."
Today's event, that has previously hosted some of the area's best thrashers, will be held at the location for
Like at last year's event, ramps that will be used for participants are being donated by Catamount Ramps, whose constructions, according to Vallender, will compliment the blacktop in more creative ways than one.
A display featuring vintage gear from the sport's earlier years, will provide retro eye-candy for enthusiasts, and Vew-Do Balance Boards, from Manchester, will be on hand with demos of their latest gear.
"Companies like these, and those who make up BASIC, who give something each year, support in this effort," said Vallender. "We're the organized face of skateboarding to some extent, so whenever we put out the call for other skate communities to come, they never let us down."
For years, the only sanctioned location open to skateboarders downtown has been the Boys and Girls Club on Flat Street. Everywhere else is "skate at your own risk," said Vallender.
BASIC has other summer events planned to raise awareness and funds for the proposed park, including a "Dinner for the Cause" on Wednesday, June 27 at the 99 Restaurant on Putney Road. The group is also participating in Brattleboro's Independence Day parade.
"The generosity of this town is something you can feel," said Vallender. "There is still work to be done, but I think people have become generally supportive of the idea of a skatepark. Today, it's all about fun."
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.