The official meeting place for Emerica's Wild in the Streets 2006 was Buckingham Fountain, also known as the "Married With Children" Fountain, on the “front porch” of Chicago between Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. After posing for some newspaper and TV cameras with a banner that read “Thank You Mayor Daley and Chicago For Embracing Skateboarding,” we were lead down the “wrong” path (an unplanned one), and onto Michigan Avenue by a rogue faction of skaters.
It worked out well, though, as thousands of skateboarders hooted and hollered North toward the Magnificent Mile. Bystanders smiled ear-to-ear as a huge pack of skaters truly went Wild in the Streets, yet managed to do it peacefully! At Wacker Drive and the Chicago River, we turned right and headed down the ramp to Lake Shore Drive on to the Lake Shore Skateboard Path (at least that's what it was called was today!) and North to Oak Street Beach.
The local Chicago skaters, including Uriah from Uprise and Vache from Affiliate and their crews, had cleaned up the sand at Oak Street Beach the night before and set up a couple of wedge ramps. An impromptu demo of sorts started as skaters rested to get some Vitamin Water before the long push up to Wilson Skatepark, our final destination. Local ripper Stevie from FA Skates, as well as a number of Emerica team skaters, threw down just long enough for everyone else to catch their breath.
From there, it was another four miles up to Wilson Skatepark, where Emerica provided 600 burgers and hot dogs for the kids, as well as 1500 drinks, 550 bags of chips, and a few bushels of bananas. The skating was on, and everyone with enough energy went at it in the pool, most of the street course, and for blocks in every direction.
It was a beautiful day in Chicago, with 2500-3000 kids showing up en masse from all over the U.S. (and one from Japan) to celebrate Go Skateboarding Day! Any day is a great day to be a skateboarder, but today was especially nice! The efforts that went into this event weren’t for glory or fame, but were truly geared at giving back to skateboarding.
That said, the 2006 edition of Emerica's Wild in the Streets would not have been possible without Brian Quarles, Jim Spinello and Robin Wish from Birdsong3 in Chicago, and without the cooperative efforts of the Chicago Skateboarding Community: Uriah and the Uprisers, Vache and his Affiliates, John M., June Bug, Steve Davenport (amazing!), Shak and the RQ crew (and Charlie!), Duane from Skate Shack, Rob from FA Skates, Frank from Chi-Town Express and Eric from Stuck Magazine.
The Emerica Public Relations group was also invaluable and very successful: Brian Jones and Janice Callado kicked butt and got the all the media to come out, despite some sketchy morning weather. A lot of thirsty kids drank a lot of donated Vitamin Water—thanks! And of course, the very foundation of Wild in the Streets: the faith, hard work and can-do attitudes of Emerica Brand Marketing Manager Justin Regan, Emerica Team Manager Jeff Henderson and all the Emerica team riders, who were good sports all day long, helped to bring out the throngs of kids! All in all, Wild in the Streets 2006 was a tremendous success. Here's looking forward to next year!--Mark Waters