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Skateboarders try to fill Raven Mad Daze void

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services
Friday, June 15, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - With Raven Mad Daze moved from Franklin Avenue this year, a few Yellowknifers are craving a substitute.

"We were disappointed that the street party of (Raven Mad Daze) wasn't going to happen," said Sean McGee.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Sean McGee glides along 51 Street on his longboard. McGee, along with some other boarding enthusiasts in town, are holding a skateboarding competition June 20 and 21. Anyone interested in volunteering for the event can meet at Javaroma on Saturday at 11 a.m. - Jessica Klinkenberg/NNSL photo

So he and his friend Alex Sparling, both skateboarding enthusiasts, got together and started planning their own event. From that came the One Million Seconds of Sun Skate competition.

"It was Alex that got onto it," McGee said.

He said Sparling wanted to put together a skate team, and will most likely be looking at competitors in hopes of doing just that. The planning for the event began only a couple of weeks ago, when the two heard Raven Mad Daze was no longer being held on Franklin Avenue.

"We wanted a solstice event downtown," McGee said. They chose the Yk Inn parking lot as their venue.

The skate park by St. Joseph school was just not big enough for a competition, they said.

The pair will be borrowing the half-pipe from the SideDoor Youth Centre.

"With this event we're (also) hoping to put out an open letter to parents," McGee said.

He said that the bad reputation that skateboarding gets makes it hard for them.

He said skateboarders are not the young hoodlums adults assume them to be.

"I have a full-time job, I have some University," McGee said. "We're looking at promoting this to help get rid of the negative image that skateboarding gets."

In order to help pay for the event, McGee said there will be food on sale at the venue, as well as a booth from Javaroma, and other people are setting up information booths, like a girl travelling to Africa to do volunteer work.

"We're also going to have a mural. Anyone who wants to contribute to it can," McGee said.

McGee said they're thinking of getting a freestanding white wall that people can paint on, and if it isn't filled after the first year they'll bring it out to next year's event.

"If it's a success this year it would be great to see it become an ongoing event," he said.

McGee said he hopes the event will appeal to youth and help fill the void Raven Mad Daze's move will leave on Franklin Avenue.

"We're appealing more to a different age group (than the Solstice Festival). It's celebrating our community, the solstice and the Aboriginal community," he said.

The event will be held in the Yk Inn parking lot next Wednesday from 4 to 11 p.m. and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.