Roll into summer at this weekend’s first-ever roller skating pop-up
The fantastical, colorful roller rinks that skyrocketed into popularity during the 1970s and into the ’90s will return this weekend to Steamboat Springs, promising fun for all ages.
On Friday and Saturday, the upper parking lot of Wells Fargo on Fourth and Oak streets will be transformed into a roller skating rink for a new event called Steam Rolla. The event was created and hosted by local event planner Jennifer Grathwohl.
The idea for the event struck Grathwohl when she read an article in The New York Times during the pandemic discussing how roller skating was making a comeback during quarantine. Grathwohl, who loved to roller skate as a teen, wanted to try it out again as an adult, but when she went online to buy skates, she couldn’t find them anywhere; even the wait on Amazon was several months long.
When she realized she wasn’t alone in her love for roller skating, she thought it would be fun to organize a community event around it.
“I want to bring the community something that’s just joyful and fun so that we can all celebrate together that we made it through the pandemic,” Grathwohl said. “When I talk to people about the event, there are so many people who, like me, used to love roller skating and are excited to try it out again, and then there are kids, who have never tried it before, who are excited to do something new.”
Grathwohl hired an outside company to install a roller skating rink in the parking lot complete with barricades, and the night sessions will include lights and glow sticks. Carnival games and ice cream will be set up outside the rink as well.
What: Steam Rolla roller skating rink pop-up
When: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, June 18, and Saturday, June 19
Where: Upper Wells Fargo Parking lot at Fourth and Oak streets
Tickets: $12 to $20, purchase online at EventBrite.com/e/steam-rolla-outdoor-roller-skating-rink-tickets-138461884223
Steam Rolla will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets range in price from $12 for children and $14 for adults during the day, with night skating sessions — suggested for ages 14 and up — for $20, beginning at 7 p.m. Each session is one hour long, and tickets include the price of skate rentals.
Grathwohl plans to give a portion of the proceeds from the event to three local nonprofits: The Routt County Humane Society, Advocates of Routt County and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council — three organizations whose missions hit close to home for Grathwohl.
“We are so grateful to have an incredible community that puts together these fun events that also support such important programs,” said Advocate’s executive director Lisel Petis. “We are especially grateful to Jennifer Grathwohl for this innovative idea and her continued commitment to finding fun ways to support programs such as Advocates.”
For Grathwohl, it’s all about joy.
“I chose a word for 2021, and it was ‘joy’,” Grathwohl explained. “I just want to try to bring as much joy into my life in 2021, and I hope that I can give that to the community as well.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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