Tonawanda News — The Gregory Hayes Holler Community Skate Park, which opened last year, will hold its first big event this weekend— the City of Tonawanda First Annual Ives Skateboard Bash. The event is free and open to anyone who wants to participate.
The bash is the brainchild of the City of Tonawanda Youth Board, who had the idea for the event after their March Madness event.
“We wanted to do something else in the summer for the youth,” said Gina Butcher, the secretary for the Youth Boar. “We had meetings to plan the event out, and everything just fell into place. We really hope to make it an annual event.”
The event will feature a DJ, as well as food and beverages. Numerous sponsors are slated to set up tents at the event, and will be giving out free merchandise, as well as selling products.
Inside Skateboards, based out of Rochester, will be at the event, selling skateboards and shirts, as well as Cretaceous Buffalo, a skate shop in Kenmore, and Zeniick, a watch company from Salt Lake City, Utah, who are donating watches to be used as prizes.
The event is open to all ages, but parents for children under the age of 18 must sign off on their child’s participation on the event flier and all skateboarders must wear helmets. Fliers are available at City Hall.
The bash is the result of hard work by three key groups — the Youth Board, the Gregory Hayes Holler Community Skate Park, and Micah Weber, the owner of a skateboard company, Zenseven, in Tonawanda. Butcher said Don and Nancy Holler, the organizers of the GHH Memorial Fund which made the building of the park possible, played a large role in the organization of the event.
“They are just amazing people who have done nothing but give,” Butcher said.
After the Hollers’ son, Gregory, passed away in 2008 a month before his 17th birthday, the Hollers chose to build a skate park in his memory. They raised a total of $120,000 for the park’s construction.
“We are excited for this weekend,” Nancy said. “We have never had anything like this.”
Nancy said they had a core group of 20 kids that helped build the park with them, and they recently added engraved bricks to thank volunteers for helping and act as a memorial for loved ones.
Organizers said the Hollers have put a lot of time into the event Saturday, and donated engraved medallions and trophies, which will serve as awards for the winners of the bash’s contests — which mainly test participant’s ability to perform skateboarding tricks. City of Tonawanda kids will likely impress with these stunts, since the park has been very popular since its grand opening last May.
Nancy said whenever she goes to the park, there are 25 kids there taking advantage of it and having fun.
“The older ones help the younger ones, it’s nice to see,” Nancy said. “As a mother, it helps me grieve a little bit. My son would be proud.”Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.