Sk8Fest0814

Longboarders skate down the Centennial Trail at the beginning of the 8.5 mile sunset race on a race at a previous Centennial Sk8 Festival in Arlington.

 

The Centennial Sk8 Festival returns to Arlington and the Centennial Trail this summer from Aug. 17 to 18.

The annual event brings longboard racers from across the nation and local enthusiasts to compete in a variety of a races throughout the weekend.

“We have the same races we've had in the past,” said Angela Kuhn, one of the main organizers for the event and an Arlington local.

That includes the 8.5 mile ‘sunset race’ from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Armar Trailhead of the Centennial Trail.

The main race day is Sunday which includes a 5 kilometer sprint race beginning at 9:30 a.m. and a 14.5 mile countryside race at 1 p.m.

There is also a free one-mile kids race that begins at noon at Haller Park. A community festival is also held at the park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day as well.

"We anticipate more of a festival feel this year as well because the splash pad has been opened up at Haller Park,” said Kuhn, who added there will be some lawn activities there.

The event brings some local attention to longboards, which are similar to skateboards but meant more for distance travel and speed.

"Right now the sport is pretty niche and small,” said Kuhn, but she hopes to attract more people to the sport.

"A lot of people don't know that we have about 20 percent of our racers who are 50 to 65 years old,” she said.

Because of their design, longboards are often easier for beginners to use.

“The longer length makes them more stable and more forgiving for children or adults that want to learn,” said Kuhn.

She encourages anyone looking for a physical activity to try them out.

"I didn't learn how to longboard until after our fourth kid,” she said.

Last year Kuhn and other organizers held a shorter race in Monroe that helped attract people to the sport.

"We had a lot of local participation. We really love to see not just the racers from around the country but from our community,” she said.

There’s a good number of Snohomish County residents who are part of the longboard community now, said Kuhn.

"A lot of skaters start out here at the Centennial Sk8 Fest and then go on to race all around the world,” she said.

Kuhn and her husband, among other local racers, have participated in events in Miami and around the country as well.

Typically, the Centennial Sk8 Fest will bring people in from all across the country.

"We have people registering from all over the U.S., as far away as Maine and Florida,” she said.

She said that people like the small-town feel of Arlington and coming to the area.

"The Arlington community is very welcoming,” said Kuhn.

Some locals have some stereotypes about skateboarders but longboard racers are more like marathon runners or bicyclists, said Kuhn.

More information about the local longboard festival is at centennialsk8fest.com.

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