PLAINS TWP. – When shoddy weather threatened the “Curry Spring Thaw Jam,” event organizers turned to some old friends to make sure the event went on, albeit in at a different site.
George Rittenhouse and Chris Koviack were set to hold their 3rd annual event at Rittenhouse’s family business, Curry Donuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre. The event offers area bikers, skateboarders and scooter riders the opportunity to enjoy a worry-free day of riding, complete with music, food, contests and more.
The duo initially began holding various free skating events on the property due to a lack of a space for riders to go.
“They kept having issues where (places) wanted to charge them (to skate there), so we decided to start doing it at Curry,” Rittenhouse said of local skate enthusiasts and the event. “It’s really just to have fun.”
But Sunday’s lackluster weather forced a change of venue at the last minute, moving the jam to Keystone RampWorks at the Wyoming Valley Sports Dome.
The two groups have helped each other in the past with Rittenhouse offering the family space as a way to hold fundraisers to turn the dream of an indoor skate park into a reality.
On Sunday, the now up-and-functioning skate park decided to continue the good working relationship by not only acting as the venue for the Spring Thaw, but discounting admission into the park to $5 while offering free helmet rentals, food and more.
Keystone RampWorks officially opened May 1, thanks to a partnership with the Wyoming Valley Sports Dome. The park will remain inside the facility until Sept. 23, at which time owners Jeff Mushell and Mikki St. Pierre hope to have enough funds to build a separate facility on the lot and relocate the skate park and a coffee shop inside the new facility.
“The game plan is to make enough during the summer to where we can start building our own building outside of the dome on their property because they’ve agreed to lease the space to us,” he said. “But this is just temporary for right now just to show people that we are capable of doing this, and then to even make sure that the draw is there in the area.”
As for the draw, St. Pierre said that since opening May 1 about 250 individual skaters have come to the park.
“So we know that the riders exist, its just reaching out to the rest of them and letting them know that we’re here,” she said.
Keystone RampWorks will hold its official grand opening June 8, offering the indoor skate park and a coffee house along with various weekly activities, such as an art night and trivia night.
Koviack praised the working relationship between the groups, especially considering the shot notice to relocate Sunday’s event.
“Its super fun. We’re really glad we were able to have a place like this because you see what the weather is outside right now,” he said, noting the gloomy, rainy sky. “It’s nice to have a roof over our heads and still be able to have this event going on.”
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