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Sidewalk Daredevils

City of Fairfax host second annual Skate Fest at Van Dyck Park.

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Patrick Praman uses his knees to gain speed for his trick at the Van Dyck Skate Park

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Peter Kongsuk holds his board while he waits for the ramp to be clear of other skaters.

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Nick Pagano coasts off a ramp after landing a trick at the Van Dyck Skate Park.

As a part of National Go Skateboarding Day, Fairfax Surf Shop and the City of Fairfax will host the second annual Skate Fest Fairfax 2008 this weekend. Last year’s event was successful thanks to hundreds of participants and community interest. The event will take place at the same venue, Van Dyck Skate Park, 3730 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax.

Skate Fest Fairfax 2008 will begin with SK8 for A Cause, benefiting Children’s Hospital Foundation. Participants of all ages and skills are invited to ride along a route through the park. The route will be about 2 miles long and feature checkpoints.

"Last year, they did a wonderful job for a first year event, they raised just over $2,000, said Danni Beyda, Children’s Hospital events coordinator.

"It’s similar to a breast cancer walk," said Joe Nielsen, Fairfax Surf Shop manager.

"My oldest son, when he was born had some complications. Children’s Hospital in D.C. saved his life." said Dan Callahan, Fairfax Surf Shop owner. "[Children’s Hospital] really like the event because it’s kids helping kids."

On Saturday, June 21 the main event will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. featuring music, good, activities, giveaways, prizes, games, open skate and the final round of the skateboarding competition. Ourisman Fairfax Scion is the biggest sponsor for the event. Other sponsors include Burke Target, Honest Tea, Pepsi-Cola, LaxWorld, Red Bull and Smack Energy Bars, whose owner, former Washington Redskins player Fred Smoot, will be attending the event.

THE CITY OF FAIRFAX and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department are also major contributors to the event. The city allows for the skateboarders to use the park for the skateboard competition and the SK8 for a Cause. "We will have staff and equipment on site to help setup," said Michael McCarty, director of the City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation.

The organizers stress that the event isn’t just about skateboarding — it will be a family event, with plenty of activities and games for all ages. The event will include moon bounces, activities, vendors and raffles to benefit the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

"It was very great to see the wide range of spectators [last year] with grandparents bringing kids in strollers." McCarty said.

As well as the Skate Fest events on Friday and Saturday, the City of Fairfax Park and Recreation will be having Movies Under the Moon at 7 p.m. after both days’ events. A band will be performing on both nights followed by the showing of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" on Friday and "Hairspray" on Saturday.

The Fairfax Surf Shop has started a skateboarding team this past year, and is looking for new team members. The shop staff will be looking during the Skate Fest for skateboarders that stand out to join their shop’s team.

"We’re looking for as good as guys as we can get on the team. It would be awesome to put out a video," said Nielsen.

"These kids are incredible athletes, and they’re doing things that I could never do." McCarty said.

Nielsen also hopes that Skate Fest will continue to help the City of Fairfax nurture local skateboarding talent.

The Fairfax Surf Shop has been in the Fairfax community for about 32 years now. Five years ago, Callahan became the shop’s new owner. "During the spring, summer and fall, skateboarding keeps our business running," he said. "We’ve had a tremendous dedication to skateboarding since the shop opened and Skate Fest is a continuation of that."

As part of Skate Fest, the shop builds a street park on the basketball course geared for street skaters in the area who skate on their local block. Along with the street course competition, Skate Fest will offer a best trick competition in the regular skate park and a Mini Ramp competition on the mini ramp in the park. All of those events combined will be used to analyze the competitors for a possibility of joining the Fairfax Surf Shop Team.

The preliminary rounds for the Skate Fest skateboard competition, a try-out, will take place on Friday, June 20, from 4-7 p.m., at Van Dyck Skate Park. For more information on the event and to sign up for the skateboard competition or SK8 For A Cause, visit www.skatefestfairfax.com, visit the Fairfax Surf Shop at 3936 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax or call 703-425-5400.