Good things come to those who skate, and the good times were rolling at the First Annual Franklin Street Roll-Around event held in Michigan City. Partnering with Patricia Ross, a future Michigan City skating rink owner, this free event hosted by the Michigan City Parks and Recreation was sponsored by Centier Bank. Skaters were treated to a fun-filled day of roller skating, family activities, games, and music.
Roller skating dates back to 1735 but it was James Leonard Plimpton who patented the modern roller skate in 1863. Since then, roller skating has been a family fun event for all ages.
Patricia is a native of Michigan City.
"This is my life. Skating is what I live for. It's my passion, it's not a hobby. I run a famous rink in LA, but I am born and raised here. I always said once I make it there, I'm coming back here for my city. I'm giving back to the community."
The main goal was to get people out to the event, whether they lived in Michigan city or not.
“We are responding to the community to bring life back into 7th and Franklin. Patricia asked if she could bring this down here and we are supporting her. This is a family event and it's free. We are trying to get to the people of the community who might typically not come down here," said Hubert Morgan, a consultant with the redevelopment commission.
Jenilee Haynes-Peterson with the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City couldn't agree more.
"When Patricia reached out to us, we knew we had to be a part of this and give support where we could."
For some, it was the first time putting skates on in 30 years, and for others, it was the first.
"It's fun but it's hard!" said Tavia, a young skater who was taking a break. If there was a local rink, Tavia said she would visit all the time.
Community fun and support are what brought some experienced skaters out. "Anytime there is roller skating in Northwest Indiana, we want to be a part of it and show our support," said Lisa Stojanovich, also known as "Leroy Jenkins" in the roller derby community. She and some of the South Shore Roller Girls came out and participated.
Music played from speakers powered by generators supplied by the La Porte County Visitors bureau. Laughter rang out broken by the intermittent yelp when a newer skater took a stumble. Strangers held hands lending support to each other. The date for the skating rink has not yet been announced but it was clear the community will provide love and support.