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Village News' Soul Roll Expo rocks and rolls

FALLBROOK - A rare local exposition showcasing skateboarding and other youth-oriented activities and fashions drew an appreciative crowd to downtown Fallbrook last Saturday.

“People stopped me all day thanking us for having this event,” said Julie Reeder, president of Village New Inc., which hosted Soul Roll Expo at its historic Elder House facility.

“[The youth] were so appreciative to have something to do in Fallbrook,” she said. “It accomplished what we had hoped in providing a great time for our customers, readers, and their families.”

The eight-hour event attracted several hundred visitors and featured concerts, skate competitions, scooter tricks, product giveaways, a fad and fashion show and Hawaiian-style catering provided by Fallbrook’s Hukilau restaurant.

Reader said the event was intended to underscore her company’s appreciation for its customers’ continued support and readership and to give area youth an opportunity for some much-needed fun and relaxation.

Bruce Hartcorn of Hartcorn Construction built the plywood half-pipe attraction for the event and donated it afterward to area children who have lobbied for a skate park.

“If we can help give the kids somewhere safe to skate in town, I’m happy to donate to the cause to help get that started,” Hartcorn said.

That offer was music to the ears of many youth advocates who cite the need for such a facility in Fallbrook.

“However I can help raise the awareness of how kids need somewhere to skate here, I’m in,” said Matt Cohen, who has lobbied for a skate park and provided a quarter-pipe attraction that was constructed by Eagle Eye Fabrications.

Cohen and other advocates contend that Fallbrook needs at least one skate park where youths can spend time and hone their skills without venturing into shopping centers or locations where the activity has been banned.

Temecula opened a skate park more than a decade ago. That southwest Riverside County city is hosting a “skaters’ challenge” on Feb. 20 at the Ronald Reagan Sports Park facility. The coastal community of Oceanside has three operating skate parks with others in the planning stages.

According to area statistics, about 20 percent of Fallbrook’s population is between the ages of 5 and 18. That group is expected to nearly double in size over the next decade as the community’s complexion continues to change.

Several musicians sang the same tune.

“We need to have more things like this for kids to do in Fallbrook,” said Sonny Romero, from the Fallbrook band Raiz Muzik, after his performance. His group was the first band to sign up for the music and fun fest.

Top-level skateboarders who attended the Soul Roll event as part of their Active Ride Shop sponsorships thrilled the crowd throughout the day on the Hartcorn half-pipe.

Representatives of the Temecula youth-oriented clothing and equipment shop said the event was “pretty much what we hoped for.” The shop’s booth was constantly surrounded by youths seeking stickers, brochures and product information.

Amateur skaters also got to show off their talents in mini-competitions. A treasure hunt netted one participant a new skateboard.

JJ’s Beach and Board Shop, an event co-sponsor, showcased newly-released merchandise that included fashions and a brand-name Fox suitcase.

Other products that were displayed and given away by vendors included offerings from top surf, skate and snow companies. They included No Fear, Plan B, SRH, Electric Sunglasses, Sector 9, Fox, Reef, YOLO, and Teahapoo, a new local clothing line that features unique designs.

Other brand name products distributed during the event included items from Black Flys, Switch Nine, Larabar, General Mills, Tarantula Trucks, and Fight Legends Clothing, a local company that gears its military-inspired casual wear and edgy apparel toward service members, martial artists and other customers with active lifestyles.

Musicians Workshop of Temecula and Starway Productions and Ron Lubben of Fallbrook handled the sound for the event. Sequoia Solar of San Diego provided electricity for the stage equipment. A growing company that serves residential and commercial customers, Sequoia Solar brought in solar panels on a flatbed truck for use at the event.

A range of musical styles were showcased as one local band after another performed atop the second-floor landing of the historic building.

“The bands rocked all day,” said Andrew Reeder, an event music coordinator and a son of the local media company president. “People were dancing and really seemed to be enjoying themselves.”

Some event participants even put their break dancing skills to the test amid enthusiastic applause from a cluster of onlookers.

Several band members praised the event’s professional stage and sound crew.

The venue hosted an array of bands that included the “Aggronauts,” the “Devastators,” “Heads Down for Takeoff” and “Down to the Wire.”

Some performers – including members of the Temecula band “On Being Human” – said they had never been to Fallbrook before. A representative of that group described the hilly avocado- and citrus-producing community as “a quaint little town.”

That perspective was echoed by Scha Scha from the Oceanside-based reggae band “Irusalem.”

“We’ve never played in Fallbrook before,” he said in an interview. “This is a great little town and we can’t wait to come back. I spent eight years in the military and never stepped foot in Fallbrook.”

Area reggae bands are now working together to hold a festival in Fallbrook that would be patterned after the Soul Roll event.

Meanwhile, organizers of Soul Roll say the momentum from their premier event has prompted them to begin planning another expo.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the next Soul Roll event can visit http://www.thevillagenews.com/soulrollexpo. Those that pre-register online will receive an e-mail invitation when the date is set.

To comment on this story online, visit http://www.thevillagenews.com.

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