Arts and Entertainment

Skaters in Burton get a boost from bands

The Pharmacy, a band that got its start on Vashon, is part of a three-band lineup on Saturday at Burton Adventure Recreation Center.  - Adarsha Benjamin Photo
The Pharmacy, a band that got its start on Vashon, is part of a three-band lineup on Saturday at Burton Adventure Recreation Center.
— image credit: Adarsha Benjamin Photo

Islanders can spend the day at the Burton Adventure Recreation Center this Saturday, taking part in a lively event that will include a high-stakes Frisbee golf tournament and an outdoor concert featuring the rocking sounds of three well-known bands.

Best of all, the day’s events will raise money for a good cause — to support the construction of Vashon Park District’s new outdoor skate park on the site.

“The construction of the skate park has been a dream in the making for over a decade,” said Allison Shirk, an Island grant writer and organizer who is one of the forces behind Saturday’s event, which is dubbed “The Burton Throw Down.”

Another organizer, Pete Welch, said he is hoping for a big response to the event.

“Our motto is, you don’t have to come, but you do have to buy a ticket — that is what is going to get this skatepark built,” he said.

The recreation center is currently home to a small indoor skate park, but construction of a much more expansive outdoor space moved one step closer this spring, when the Park District hired Gridline Skateparks to design a new skate park — a process that resulted in a plan to build the park in four phases.

And if the Park District can raise $100,000 by the end of 2010, construction will being next year on the first phase of the project — a 2,683-square-foot rectangle with skate-able stairs, benches and ramps. Future phases of the design include a bowl, volcano and a skate loop.

Supporters of the new park, including Shirk and Welch, believe it will help provide Vashon youth with a healthy alternative to drug and alcohol use.

A recent study showed that Vashon teens use drugs and alcohol at a higher rate than their peers statewide.

Saturday’s youth-friendly event is meant to demonstrate the kind of substance-free fun that can be found at the recreation center.

The day will kick off with Vashon’s second annual Disc Golf Tournament, where entrants will compete on the center’s 18-hole Frisbee golf course.

Islander Brian Forsythe, who designed the challenging course in 2000, said he was excited about the upcoming tournament.

“Last year we were amazed at the number of novice and first time players that made it out to compete,” Forsythe said. “Everyone had a great time, regardless of their experience or skill level.”

A number of medals and jury awards will be doled out to tournament winners at the conclusion of the competition.

The lineup of bands, which includes The Lonely H, Rishloo and The Pharmacy, will commence at 2 p.m.

The Lonely H is a rock and roll band from Port Angeles. The band formed in the early 2000s while its members were still in high school.

“I had them out to play an all-ages show at the Red Bicycle recently, and everyone loved them,” said Welch. “They look like a young Led Zeppelin — everybody went crazy.”

Welch is also a fan of the Seattle band Rishloo, which has diverse influences ranging from The Beatles to Pink Floyd to Radiohead. The group tours constantly, Welch said.

The Pharmancy, whose members grew up on Vashon, is comprised of drummer Brendhan Bowers, guitarist and singer Scott Yoder and keyboardist Stefan Rubicz. The Pharmacy has toured widely, released a number of acclaimed recordings and just returned from playing in Europe.

“They’ve really made a name for themselves, and they are homegrown,” said Welch.

The Burton Throw Down will take place from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at Burton Adventure Recreation Center, 10500 S.W. 228 Road. The Frisbee golf tournement, staring at noon, costs $5. Tickets for the concert, which starts at 2 p.m., cost $10 and can be purchased at Vashon Island Music, Vashon Park District’s office and by e-mailing Pete Welch at All proceeds raised on Saturday will be matched by a grant from Seattle’s Lucky Seven Foundation.

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