Participants at the LEGENDS Gala
Participants at the LEGENDS Gala; Credit: Melissa Robinson Photography

D.C. has a thriving roller skating culture—from inline skaters rolling through Rock Creek Park to style skaters on quad skates “snapping” at the Anacostia Park Roller Skating Pavilion—but the city hasn’t had an indoor rink since Adams Morgan’s National Arena became a movie theater in 1986. Local skate enthusiast Saletta Coleman, through her organization GetYourSk8On Entertainment, has made it her mission to make roller skating accessible while preserving skating history. Earlier this year, Let’s Skate DC, Coleman’s partnership with The Wharf, turned Transit Pier into a family-friendly outdoor rink one weekend each month during the summer. As a skating historian who co-produced the 2018 HBO documentary United Skates, Coleman also knows the rich legacy of roller skating in Black culture, from “skate-in” protests during the civil rights movement and dedicated but segregated “Soul Nights” to the emergence of Black-owned and operated skating rinks across the U.S., where skaters developed regional rhythm skating styles. For the past few years, to honor older Black skaters and their on-wheels history, Coleman’s hosted the LEGENDS Gala and this year is no different. From Oct. 7 through 9, Coleman is bringing together aspects of both Let’s Skate DC and LEGENDS for a days-long national roller skating party. “LEGENDS Gala is the pinnacle of all these years of doing the work to preserve culture and share skating history,” Coleman tells City Paper. “But now we can use the Anthem during the day to open it up to the community, inviting children of all ages and families. It’s taking what the Wharf has allowed me to do all summer on those weekends to create a grand finale.” On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Anthem will become D.C.’s largest indoor roller rink with all-ages skating from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for a special Let’s Skate DC event. There will be lessons from well-known style skaters and skate rentals for children in addition to a health expo. In the evening, the Anthem transitions into the site of the LEGENDS Gala with R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné! performing, followed by an afterparty for all attendees with DJs spinning and LEGENDS Gala skaters gliding around the floor of the esteemed music venue. There is also a District Pier skating fashion show on Friday evening and a free skating party at Anacostia Park on Sunday. Let’s Skate DC all-ages skating and expo runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 8. $8–$20. Tony! Toni! Toné!—A Skate Party & Dance Celebration starts at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the Anthem. $75–$85. Skate events run from Oct. 7 through 9.

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