What better way to enjoy Thursday — the longest day of the year — than to celebrate Go Skateboarding Day?
This holiday was developed by the International Association of Skateboard Companies to promote skateboarding, a sport that can help build muscle, increase flexibility, burn calories, increase confidence, build endurance and so much more.
Keene will have a celebration of its own on Railroad Square Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. But it’s not just a celebration of Go Skateboarding Day, but also the launch of a campaign to renovate the skate park in Keene. The group of local enthusiasts, Keene Skatepark, is working with city’s parks and recreation department to raise $300,000 to create a poured concrete skatepark on Gilbo Avenue. The event will feature a raffle for skateboarding gear, including shoes and skateboard decks.
Local Burger will serve food and drinks, and if it rains, the event will take place inside the restaurant. For more information, call 903-4385.
Here’s some fun skateboarding facts to get you pumped for the day:
* Skateboarding — originally called sidewalk surfing — started in the early 1940s or ‘50s when California surfers were looking for something to do when there weren’t any waves.
* Original skateboard wheels were made of clay or metal.
* Pattie McGee became the first female professional skater in 1964 and set the record for fastest female skater at just 19 years old. She is also the first woman to be inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.
* In 1978, Alan “Ollie” Gelfad invented one of the most basic and popular tricks: the ollie. The highest-ever recorded ollie was 45.5 inches by both Jake Hayes and Xavier Alford; the record for longest ollie is held by Jordan Haffort, at 16 feet, 6 inches; and the record for most stairs ever ollied is held by Aaron “Jaws” Homoki, at 25 stairs.
* Norway banned the sport for 11 years due to its perceived dangers. People weren’t allowed to use, own or sell skateboards. During the ban, skateboarders had to smuggle boards into Norway and hide ramps in the woods to continue enjoying the sport.
* The U.S. Marine Corps tested the usefulness of skateboards for urban warfare as part of the Urban Warrior ’99 program. According to the program, the skateboards were used inside buildings to detect tripwires and sniper fire.
* Skateboarding will officially be recognized as an Olympic sport at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.