Bikes, bands and barbecue in Orland Park
By Hannah Kohut Correspondent June 16, 2012 11:36PM
A skateboarder gets air Saturday during Journeys Backyard Barbecue at Orland Square Mall. | Hannah Kohut~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 18, 2012 6:49AM
It was hot and muggy at Orland Square Mall on Saturday morning, but that didn’t stop more than 100 teenagers and their parents from lining up early for the Journeys Backyard Barbecue, free, all-day event filled with motocross, skateboarding, BMX stunts and live bands.
Before the gates opened at noon in the parking lot outside of Sears, teens already were dripping with sweat and reapplying sunblock.
For 16-year-old Dana Anderson, of the South Side, experiencing the heat and long line was a small price to pay.
“I’m here to see (the band) Never Shout Never,” Anderson said. “I’ve been a fan for two years now. We’ve been in line for an hour and a half.”
Anderson is certainly a devoted fan. Never Shout Never was not scheduled to perform until 6 p.m., but she didn’t seem to mind.
As for the bike tricks …
“I want to do all that,” Anderson said as she pointed to a large half-pipe with skateboarders doing flips.
Nathaniel Fulkerson, however, was there to see some bike and skateboarding action.
“I’m pretty interested in BMX,” the 18-year-old Merrionette Park resident said. “I wish I could do all this. I’ve been waiting out here for over an hour now.”
Even the youngest of skating fans came out to brave the heat.
“I like roller blades,” 5-year-old Matteo Sammartano, of Palos Heights, said. “I can’t do any tricks, but I’m practicing. I see stuff like this on TV, and it’s so cool.”
His father, Vince Sammartano, said the event is a great way to have fun with the family.
“I’m here for the stunts with the kids,” 38 year-old Sammartano said. “I’ve seen this before, but I’ve never done any of this myself.
Fun is what the day was all about, according to event organizer Brian Gass, of Orange County, Calif.
“It’s a free event that brings out everything that is important to kids,” Gass said. “We’ve got lots of activities here, including five bands.”
Three of the bands are Chicago–based: Red Light Compliance, Goodbye Coastline and Endless Summer.
But, coming to the Chicago area has a price to pay. High winds, which were welcomed by the heated fans, caused the first motocross demonstration to be cancelled.
“They (riders) just can’t safely perform flips with the wind like this,” Gass said.
This wasn’t the tour’s first time coming to Orland Square Mall, though.
“We were here back in 2009, and it was great,” Gass said. “We had about 15,000 people show up, and we’re hoping for that many again this year.”
Gass said the Orland Square stop was the ninth of a 12-city tour. The tour just came from Detroit, and will go to Oklahoma City, Okla., next.
“We like it here at Orland. That’s why we decided to bring the event back,” Gass said.
Gass said “the rock star of skateboarding,” came out to the event, despite having a fractured foot from a skating accident.
“I feel bad because of the fans that came out and I can’t perform for them,” 28-year-old Corey Duffle, of Oakland, said. “It’s always a good time to be out here, though, to see the youth come out.
“It’s torture for me that I can’t get out there and skate,” Duffle said, with a laugh.
His advice for young people who want to learn to skate?
“You’re going to fall down,” Duffle said. “I’ve been skating for 10 years and still fall down,” Duffle said, pointing to his fractured foot. “It’s all about confidence and determination.”