Teen Fest flies into summer

June 21, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Jessee Ikedah, 16 of Sammamish, does a flip-twist on his scooter while other skaters compete during Teen Fest at the Sammamish Commons skate park June 17. Photo by Christopher Huber

Youth from around the Sammamish area started lining up at the gate an hour before they could get in at the Sammamish Commons.

Nearly 1,500 teens came to show off their moves at the skate park or enjoy games and music at the fourth annual Teen Fest June 17 at Sammamish Commons. More than 1,200 teens eagerly awaited entrance into the headlining event — a concert featuring Macklemore.

“The weather cooperated,” said Jane Ronngren, executive director of the Redmond/Sammamish Boys & Girls Club, “and having Macklemore is a huge draw.”

The event was run by the city of Sammamish and the Redmond/Sammamish Boys & Girls Club. This year it featured the big-name hip-hop band and a slew of inflatable bouncy toys. Four local bands opened for Macklemore: Rebel Yells (Eastlake High), Cathleen McAllister, Jacob McCaslin and Roll the Credits (Skyline High), and Fit for Hounds.

McCaslin said he had never been so nervous before a show than before opening for Macklemore. He was worried something would go wrong, but ultimately was excited for the opportunity.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “It’s a great chance to get new fans.”

Since school was still in session, the skate competition began later than in years past and ran concurrently with the first half of the concert. But it still featured dozens of local skaters flipping tricks and getting air off the ramps and jumps to compete for prizes.

“It’s nice to have a contest one time a year that all my friends are at,” said Will Douglas, 20, of Seattle, as he sat on the edge of a ramp watching the competition.

While the city put on the skate competition and the Boys & Girls Club organized the music and games, Lynne Handlos, the city’s recreation coordinator, was excited about the overall atmosphere of the 2011 Teen Fest.

“It’s a priority of the city,” she said. “It only sets the tone for the summer.”

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