Skateboarders, fixed-gear cyclists, slackliners and more are set to show off their skills at the inaugural edition of Jackalope Fest, which invades the Olympic Park this weekend.
The contest “came from the idea [of] bringing an action-sports event for everyone just to enjoy, and also recognize some new sports,” says Micah Desforges, Jackalope’s founder and producer.
Desforges isn’t kidding. Slacklining, for instance, is likely familiar to few — it’s similar to tightrope walking, only rather than a rigid rope, participants balance on a bouncy strip of nylon webbing fastened to two posts. Other sports featured at Jackalope, like longboarding, parkour and motocross — the latter of which is limited to a demonstration Friday evening — are more widely known.
Skateboarding, however, is Jackalope Fest’s main attraction, Desforges says. Though the Big O has no shortage of stairs, ledges and walls, skate park architect Dan Vezina was brought in to build more than $10,000 worth of obstacles to complement its existing terrain.
French pro Bastien Salabanzi and American Greg Lutzka will both be on hand to compete for a $5,000 purse. They and others, including some locals, will prove their mettle in jams on three sets of obstacles, including stairs, handrails, ledges and walls, showcasing creative, technical and ballsy skateboarding.
But if armchair athleticism isn’t your thing, you can get in on the action, even if you’ve never set foot on a skateboard. Spectators will be able to borrow equipment for most activities — with motocross being the unsurprising exception — and, after signing a waiver, try their hand at something new.
Desforges is excited about this arrangement. “That’s what we want people to remember… they can have fun, stop playing video games and just come and do some sports.” ■
Jackalope Fest takes place Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21 at the
Olympic Park, corner Pie-IX and Sherbrooke. Entry is free.