Hundreds of teenagers and young adults, using a mural, ramps, and music, made their own statements yesterday during the first TeenFest at Promenade Park in downtown Toledo.
Skateboarders did it in just two minutes during competing rounds of stunts and tricks. BMXers used back flips, 360s, and no hands or feet.
Artists created a 100-foot-long mural. Others expressed themselves through body piercings, tattoos, and hairstyles.
It all happened as several teenage bands jammed during the daylong festival organized by CitiFest.
“You can't do a grind trick or a flip trick without an ollie,” explained Steve Reed, a skateboarding freshman at Clay High School in Oregon. “The olllie is the starting point,” the 15-year-old said.
An ollie is a basic stunt during which a skateboard is propelled into the air while the rider maintains foot contact, landing without hands on the skateboard.
“It keeps me from getting fat and lazy,” Steve said. “It teaches self-discipline,” he said.
The helmeted skateboarders used a series of ramps in a parking lot to perform their maneuvers.
Some, however, didn't need the course. Instead, they used the park's concrete ledges and steps for tricks and jumps.
After the skateboarders left, the steps became seats for dozens who watched the High Action Bikes perform a BMX stunt show. Three bikers used a 5-foot ramp to spin, flip, and do other tricks.
“The tricks are cool and its something I could never do,” said Amber Veres, 13, of Toledo. “The best trick is the flip around a person,” said Amber, describing how a biker barrels down the concrete, goes up a ramp, flips over another biker standing atop the ramp, and then comes back down the ramp.
“They see the 360s and the Superman,” Tom Rokos, a 30-year-old manager and rider said about the crowd. In the Superman move, the rider kicks his legs out from under him and away from the pedals while going down the ramp.
“The people see the craziness and the extreme nature of the sport,” Mr. Rokos said.
Elsewhere, Ben Swisher, 20, a Whitmer High School graduate who attends Owens Community College, worked on the end of a wooden canvas spray-painting a huge eye.
“The Earth is going to be the pupil,” Mr. Swisher said. “It's messed up,” he confessed. “The paint is running, and I'm going to have to go over it.”
The event brought out parents and other adults who enjoyed the festivities.
“We came out to watch the skateboard fest,” said Tina Shadix of Northwood, who was joined by her sons Chad, 14, and Nick, 11, and her niece, Tayla, 8.
“It's a boy thing,” she said.
Earlier, she was tossing a green flying disc with Nick.
“You need to have fun with your kids,” she said. “I would like to see this event every year. This is cool.”