INNISFAIL – Local teen Madison Burke knows a thing or two about being ‘super cool’ on a Friday night.
And she’s brought her 13-year-old sister Cammeron along for the ride.
And the ride on Sept. 8 was on roller skates.
“I feel like it's super cool because, you know, it's like a dance party,” said Madison. “It's a whole bunch of things being thrown at you at one time, and it's like flying. It's like swimming. It's like going out to a party with your friends. It's like hosting a party. It's kind of just cool.”
Madison is 17 and a member of Youth Action Innisfail, a local organization that provides events and programs for the town’s youth.
On Sept. 8 Madison was helping with registrations for Roller Skating Night at the Innisfail Twin Arena for scores of the young who want to embrace a special kind of cool.
From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. about 100 young locals between the ages of 12 and 18 rolled free of charge under flashing lights and with retro-styled high tempo music propellant.
It was the third time since 2022 a Roller Skating Night has been hosted in town, with Youth Action Innisfail taking the lead and the Town of Innisfail helping out.
Organizers said about 100 roller skaters turned out for each of the two previous events and were expecting the same for Sept. 8.
“It's an activity that doesn't require much to get ready for. We have the skates ready and available and free for anyone to come get them,” said Madison, emphasizing roller skating is a “cool thing” to do these days for many kids between the ages of 12 to 16.
“Those are the ones who are able to actually enjoy it and kind of go with their friends," she added. “It's more cool if you own them, and if you are kind of just a part of a fun big group.”
The event had additional support from Calgary Roller Skate.
Owner Roxy Janzen said her company was there to provide roller skates to folks outside the 12 to 18 age group at $10 each, and to spread the word on the joys of the recreational activity that was first invented in 1743.
“I think skating is a good physical activity you can do as it makes you feel good to be in motion,” said Janzen. “I think as (roller) skating is cyclical it kind of goes up and goes down over time.
“Every time it comes up, there's new things that people learn to do, new skills they build,” she added. “We're seeing people on roller skates in the skate park now doing tricks, which probably wasn't happening during the disco era.”
And this was all music to the ears of Kane Williams, recreation program coordinator for the Town of Innisfail.
“I think it's just so much fun that it always comes back,” said Williams, well aware of the roller skating’s past popularity that includes boom years between 1880 to 1910, and then in the 1930s to the 1950s, and of course the 70s disco-era.
“People, they want to try it out,” said Williams. “They want to know why it's fun, and you don't know until you get out there and give it a shot.”
But mostly, added Janzen, it is a “super cool thing to do because you can make it what you want.
“You can make it something social, where you go hang out with your friends and go for a roll. You can make it a daredevil sport where you're jumping off vert ramps and skating in the bowls,” said Janzen.
“Or, you can just make it a solitary thing; find a pathway and go for a long roll,” she added. “And you can get into music and just enjoy being in motion, and that feels good to all kinds of people.”