Lakewood Y will host roller skating As Evans Tribute | News, Sports, Work


Pictured are Jack Evans, son of Evan’s former owner Skateland; Candance Graves, YMCA employee; and John Raymond, owner of John’s Honest in Lakewood and Falconer. PJ photos by Katrina Fuller

LAKEWOOD – Roller skating is set to return to the country as part of a collaboration between Lakewood YMCA, Honest John’s and Jack Evans, the son of former Skateland Roller skating rink owner Evans.

The first Family Night Roller Skating event is scheduled for May 7 from 6-21pm at 183 E. Fairmount Ave.

Lakewood YMCA branch manager Tom Anderson said he got the idea from Crystal Rodreguez, an Lakewood YMCA employee. He said he brought to mind the idea of ​​skating nights, and he picked up the ball and ran with it – or more like rolling with it.

“This time, it’s not my idea,” said Anderson. “I started thinking about skating in my youth. In the ’70s, it was Evan’s Skateland, it had Russell Roller Rink and Warren Roller Rink, it was Gold Star and it was one in Dunkirk. There used to be hundreds of people (in Evans). There are no more family events. ”

Anderson said he teamed up with Evans to learn the tricks of the trade.

Pictured is Jalen Edwards skating at the Lakewood YMCA gym where next roller skating night will be held.

“I called Jack and asked him how many pairs of skates you had, and he told me 600.” he said. “I said we’re not doing this – we’re going to get 60.”

Anderson bought brand new skates in different sizes, black lights and a projector for the next skate nights. While the inaugural event is the only one planned at the moment, he said he hopes to hold a night of skating every month. Anderson said he also plans to allow skating for day camps and for birthday parties held at the facility. Skating will be held at Lakewood Y Gymnasium.

The idea behind the event is for families to go out and get active together in a fun way, Anderson said, but also to honor Evan’s Skateland heritage – located in Celoron and destroyed in an October 1976 fire.

Jack Evans was on the rink the night of the fire.

“You were not allowed to smoke – and we had 300 children there.” he said. “We had a room with a coat and there were hooks that were about three inches high. There were 300 winter coats there. There was a gate and you were not allowed to be there. Someone crawled under the gate and they were smoking. My dad went to the coat room and this kid put the cigarette in a coat pocket. If there were 300 adults there, they would be dead people because the kids were used to doing exercise at school. “They just turned on the microphone and said go to the back of the square.”

Evans said he and his father tried to put out the fire with fire extinguishers.

“It just made it go faster because it pushed oxygen into it – synthetics burn very quickly.” he said. “I went to the back of the square and was helping people out the door and my father was in the front of the square helping people. We took the 300 kids from there. What happened is the fire burning from the ceiling in the coat room. The rest of the ceiling was a sloping ceiling, so it burned. ”

He added, “And there was dust on the ceiling. When the dust spins, it is like gunpowder. So I’m at the bottom of the square to see if everyone was out and exploded on the other side – the dust that was on the ceiling and the ceiling came down like a blanket. He came down and I saw that he was turning towards me. “

Evans said pressure from the blast pulled him out of the door and into the middle of the parking lot. At the same time, his father was holding his 1-year-old daughter in his arms as he pulled her out to secure her. Before the fire, his daughter had been in a crib near the back of the square.

“My wife handed the baby out of the ticket window to my dad and he waited until she got out, then went out after her.” he said. “He ended up burning his hair on the back of his head. It was so close. “

Evans said the rink had antiques and relics, such as photos of Lucille Ball and other roller skating related items, which were all lost in the fire. Evans said about two years later, Evans reopened to their new location, which was open for skating until the early 2000s.

Anderson had many fond memories of Evans Skateland, as many do in the Jamestown area, and he wants to honor that time and those memories by introducing new generations to roller skating.

“I want to honor those boys,” he said. “Also, I called the guys from whom I bought skates and he said, ‘Skating is really coming back.'”

“My dad used to say, ‘When you start watching skating advertised on TV, then skating will come back.’ tha Evans. “I’ve seen a lot of commercials with people skating.”

Anderson said they will have black lights at events, a live DJ, concessions and will bring some of Evans old skating games, such as four corners, hokey pokey and bird dancing. He asks those interested to attend to call ahead and register as there is a limited number of skates available. Tickets cost $ 8 for members and $ 10 for non-members. Participants can also bring their own skates.

For more information or to register, call 716-763-0303 or stop at the Lakewood Welcome Center.

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