Stratosphere Skateboard sponsors 8th annual Skateraid

By NATALIE STOUT

Skateraid is a charity event that has been held every year in September since 2005 in remembrance of Ian Wochatz, a Decatur, Ga., teenager who died from brain cancer on the Fourth of July in 2005. At first, the event was held to raise money for the Wochatz family’s hospital bills but has been held ever since to support other families of children with cancer.

Kurt Crocker, a manager at the Stratosphere Skateboard shop, said that Wochatz used to come into the shop and was really into music and skateboarding, which is where the idea for Skateraid came from. Crocker said that Stratosphere’s owner, Thomas Taylor, felt really strongly about Skateraid, and has been helping and donating ever since it was started by the Wochatz family.

One aspect of Skateraid: skateboarders design art onto skateboards that are eventually displayed at a Decatur bar called Brick Store Pub. The skateboards are displayed at Brick Store a month before Skateraid takes place where Brick Store patrons can bid to buy them until the festival starts. Once the festival starts, bidders have to attend the festival to be the last ones to bid on their board.

Silas Phillips, an Atlanta artist and skateboarder, said he has been helping create boards for Skateraid for three years.

“It’s pretty easy to throw together a little piece for it, and it’s for charity, so it’s cool,” said Phillips.

Skateraid takes place this year on Sept. 29 in Decatur Square in Decatur. Activities besides bidding on skateboards include live music, food, drinks, beer, carnival games, skateboard contests and skateboard ramps.

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