Special To West Hawaii Today
Sunday, April 4, 2010 7:31 AM HST
Roll on down and join the party. It may not be the Hokey Pokey, but this is what skate night is all about.
On March 27, skaters grooved to Motown tunes under the stars in the first of what will be a monthly series of themed skate nights at the Old Kona Airport Park hockey rink.
“We want to build community involvement,” said Misti Manasas, organizer of the event. “What is there for families to do in Kona? Here the kids are happy, and the parents are happy.”
–>Saturday night’s theme was “Motown Madness” and disco-style attire was encouraged. And although there may not have been a lot of big hair and polyester, all that was missing was a strobe light as skaters rocked to tunes from the ’70s and ’80s. D.J. Darren and D.J. Ice Coffee donated their time and talents, keeping the beat and flashing the rink with colored lights. Participants indulged in shave ice, hot dogs and plate dinners. The rock climbing wall was also a big hit, and participants who brought a 13-gallon bag of recycled cans or plastics took home door prizes from local merchants.
Greg Johnston, of Kona, who plays hockey at the rink every Wednesday and Sunday, brought two of his kids with him to skate at Saturday’s bash.
“I think once this catches on it will be a good community event,” Johnston said. “They should have this every month.”
For those unfamiliar with the hockey rink, it is located next to the soccer field, across from the skateboard ramp. It’s an open-air rink paved with asphalt, not ice, and is the only skating rink on the island.
Out of the 100 or so skaters who turned out Saturday night, most wore in-line skates, but anything on wheels was welcome. The event was hopping with skaters of all levels and ages, from advanced to beginners. Twelve-year-old Linny Amaral, who brought her own skates, admitted she’s a pretty good skater.
“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Amaral said. “I like the music, it keeps you in beat, the only downside is you get sore feet.”
Saturday’s event was similar to the skate nights held a couple of years ago, which came to an end when the coordinator moved off island. Manasas is the promotions director for community events at All Things Creative, and her enthusiasm drives this volunteer operation, which aims to bring the community together. All Things Creative was the organizing force behind last year’s Halloween block party on Alii Drive, and is increasingly being asked to do charity events such as the fashion show put on at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa two years ago.
In short, Manasas knows how to throw a party. Recently, she organized one of her children’s birthday parties and held it at the skating rink, and more than 200 people attended. It was that party that prompted the idea to revisit the idea of a family skating night and Manasas started gathering volunteers and local merchants to help out.
“We have a big family and lots of friends who help out,” Manasas said. “We do it for fun. We want to utilize the rink and eventually get more nonprofits involved.”
n putting the skate night together, Manasas also sought the help of Tim Rude, coach and president of the West Hawaii Hockey Association. Rude coaches youth hockey, whose teams compete at the rink every Friday night, and noted that every Wednesday and Sunday night adults play “pick-up hockey” and anyone is welcome.
Rude and his family moved to Kona four years ago from Minnesota, thinking their hockey days were over.
“Before we moved, I traded in my hockey skates for golf clubs, now here I am. Go figure,” Rude said.
Rude, who works at Kona Community Hospital, was on hand as safety monitor for the skate night and provided a first aid station for the event. He also brought a selection of skates for people to use if they did not have their own.
Skate Night is a family event, smoke-, drug- and alcohol-free. Cost for Saturday’s event was a donation of two food items, which will be donated to The Food Basket, and an entrance fee of $5, which will go to pay for insurance and maintenance of the rink. Those who brought a 13-gallon bag of recycled cans or plastics were entered to win prizes from more than a dozen local merchants, including Sports Authority and Kona Brewing Co. Sponsoring the event was Albert’s Auto Detailing.
Next month’s family skate night is tentatively set for April 24. So get out your sequins when the theme will be Skating with the Stars.
“We definitely hope it grows bigger and better every month,” Manasas said. “Then we’ll do it twice a month.”