Ojai’s Shane Allen floats a frontside aerial in the big bowl.
William Sharp / williamsharp.com

Ojai’s public skate park has a lot of things going for it. It’s free, it’s downtown, it’s open 365, and its 12,500 square feet of artfully sculpted concrete has something for everyone, from upstart street urchins to Old Guard pool crusters. Unfortunately, summertime heat waves turn the place into a kiln, leaving dehydrated skaters dreaming for cool night sessions ’neath the stars. That dream is about to get real.

For years, plans to install lights at the skate park never got out of the “talking about it” phase. Then in late 2015, Sunday Rylander resigned as chair of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission to grab the reins with both hands. This weekend will mark a culmination of her efforts. On Saturday, April 1, the Skate Ojai nonprofit — Rylander’s on the board — is hosting a silent-auction fundraiser that will more closely resemble a taco-fueled party soundtracked by a garage band and washed down with frosty beverages. Up for grabs are dozens of skateboard decks — donated by Santa Barbara’s Skate One — custom decorated by dozens of artists, including Gary Lang, Fiorella Ikeue, and skateboarding’s own internationally regarded Mark Gonzales, among others.

All proceeds will top off Rylander’s $60,000 push to privately purchase and install the equipment, well before the heat waves of summer. “My son was 10 when the park opened, and people started saying it needed lights; now he drives himself to the park,” she said. “We’re shooting to have the lights on by May 1.”

4∙1∙1 The Skate Deck Art Show & Silent Auction will be on Saturday, April 1, at 6 p.m. at Caravan Outpost (317 Bryant St., Ojai). Call (805) 836-4892.


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