The dew turn rolls in Des Moines.
Inauguration of the new city center, $ 6.1 million Lauridsen Skatepark, considered the largest in the country, the tour brings together the best professional skateboarders for the sport’s only Olympic qualifying event in the United States.
Erected just for the competition, two metal towers now stand above the skate park to give judges a bird’s eye view, television equipment and VIP guests, provide skaters with a staging area, and hold screens. giant video that fans can watch instantly. reruns.
It is not known what the size of the Thursday through Sunday crowd will be for the event. The Dew Tour, usually free and open to the public, drew up to 50,000 fans and participants elsewhere, but that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Help ensure the safety of the Des Moines event, the organizers offered tickets to spectators in a free and limited distribution. Organizers declined to share how much they handed out, but said they were arrested within minutes.
“It was pretty crazy. The demand was overwhelming which is amazing, but it’s also a little heartbreaking for us just because we’re not used to ticketing,” said Courtney Gresik. , vice-president and general manager of the Dew Tour. “It’s a free event and very accessible under normal circumstances, but with COVID-19 we have had to limit the spectators and we are assessing the situation on a daily basis.”
Some of the carnival atmosphere surrounding the event will also be absent as there will be no musical performances or food and drink vendors at the competition site.
But there will be a sizable crowd on the 88,000 square foot skate park sidewalk: over 300 skaters, plus support staff, from every continent except Antarctica. They were already training on Tuesday.
Angela Connolly, Polk County Supervisor, co-chair of the 17-year campaign to build the Lauridsen Skatepark, said she expects the economic impact to be noticeable.
“[$4 million in revenue] is what we hope, “said Connolly.” Even last week we had people checking into hotels from China and New York. The impact on the whole region will be impressive. “
Dew Tour brings people to Des Moines businesses
The hoteliers, merchants and restaurateurs of the city center and the East Village, just in front of the Women of Distinction pedestrian bridge in the skate park, share Connolly’s hope.
Jeff Bruning, co-owner of restaurant group Full Court Press, said his locations, including several within walking distance of the skate park, will provide live coverage of the competition to help broadcast the event throughout town.
“I can’t wait to make friends with a lot of these people,” Bruning said. “It’s a really unique culture and definitely adjacent to what we do.”
Coa Cantina, in the East Village, brings in a video truck and blocks its entrance to provide live coverage. Manager James Thyberg said DJs will perform live sets there and at the downtown 300 Craft and Rooftop throughout the weekend.
Raygun, the East Village t-shirt and novelty store, is an official sponsor of the Dew Tour and has helped design and print its shirts.
“We definitely saw a big boost, especially last weekend. A lot of international teams were starting to arrive, so we had a small influx,” said Katia Correa, store manager for Raygun. “Last week we hit more revenue than the previous months, so it’s been really super beneficial and really cool to be able to come in and see some of that traffic and pass it on to us.”
Brian Bocken, owner and general manager of the Comfort Inn & Suites Event Center just up Second Street from the skate park, said some competitors had been invited for 10 days already.
“We have people from all over the country and many foreign teams staying here and they have been very impressed not only with the skate park but also with Des Moines in general,” he said. “I spoke to a guest who has two people competing here from California who say they usually go to Salt Lake City to train, but now they’re going to start coming here to train for future events. “
Kevin Jones, owner of Subsect Skateshop in the East Village and former pro skateboarder, looked a bit disappointing, saying he was disappointed that the pandemic was dragging down Des Moines’ generally busier central business district.
“As people say to me, ‘Hey, where should we go to eat, we just want something a little quick to eat,’ and they want to stay here, you’re like ‘Oh… these options are really limited. ‘
“I think if it wasn’t for COVID our summer would be full of things like this,” he said. “Maybe not quite always at this level and for that long, but there would be other things going on.”
Also has a cushioning effect: the rain this week. Dew Tour organizers must consult their contingency plans to get through a rainy week.
The concrete in the skate park is slippery and dangerous when wet, Gresik said. Teams have squeegees and industrial fans to dry the course, but this process is made much more difficult in prolonged rain.
The aim is not to cancel any events, Gresik said, but some may have to be postponed if the rainfall continues. If a postponement is necessary, the Dew Tour will still not extend beyond Sunday. On the contrary, the daily schedules, which already have built-in timing cushions in case of bad weather, will be changed to accommodate the most action possible.
“It will be a matter of adjusting the competition schedule, and I hope nothing gets canceled – that’s our goal,” she said.
“Regardless of the weather, which we’re kind of always prepared for, it’s been a great experience just to be here,” she said. “Everyone local is so welcoming and helpful and even the staff we have who are local have been amazing. Everyone made the process really easy and were very patient and understanding despite the weather.”
Continued interest in skating beyond the Dew Tour
Despite the rain, Norm Sterzenbach, president of the nonprofit Skate DSM, said he expects interest in the sport to last long after the weekend.
“The goal is to connect more people to try to create a real community at the skate park not only of skaters but also parents and siblings who can come to the park to watch,” Sterzenbach said.
Skate DSM was formed in 2018 and Sterzenbach plans to continue expanding the group long after Dew Tour with additional programming options for more age groups, with Learn to Skate clinics throughout the year (those planned this summer are already sold out).
“Nothing like this has been experienced before in Des Moines or with a skatepark of this magnitude, so we’re still kind of in that learning phase,” he said.
Like Sterzenbach, Raygun’s Correa sees the skate park as a long-term improvement to the area that will have a lasting effect.
“I really think it was really necessary to have something to bring in a different audience and a younger generation as well,” she said. “Even after the Dew tour, I think it will mean a lot of commercial traffic for all the businesses here. As this is the biggest skate park in the country, I’m sure throughout the summer we will see a lot of people from out of town coming to experience it, so that will be really cool.
As is Bocken, the owner of the Comfort Inn.
“I knew it would be a great facility. I just didn’t realize the national recognition it would have. The backdrop with the river, downtown and the Capitol is also quite picturesque.
“I think there will be a lot more national and regional and even national events in Des Moines for that. It will be very interesting to see in the future.”
Hannah Rodriguez covers retail for the registry. Contact her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ HRodriguez15.
Shelby Fleig covers the City of Des Moines government for the registry. Reach her at [email protected] or 515-214-8933.