A local summer festival is getting ready to officially rock the beach for the first time.
The eighth annual Rockstock and Barrels Festival, a free event at Rockaway Beach featuring live music, a surf competition, skating demonstrations, beach games and vendors, will move from the boardwalk to the sand this year, according to co-founder Jimmy Dowd.
Held on Saturday, June 28, starting at 10 a.m., the day-long festival kicks off the summer and helps the local community.
“It has been doing a lot of good things for the neighborhoods,” Dowd said.
Proceeds from the event, through the nonprofit organization Rockaway Beach Surf Club, are used for projects in the community, such as for construction at the skate park at 90th Street, located next to the beach where the event is held, and other causes, including sending inner city children to surf camp and introducing martial arts to kids through the mentoring program STOKED.
Since that time the event has grown, but “it’s finally really catching some headway,” Dowd said, and in the last two years it’s starting to get recognized by larger corporations.
Co-sponsored by the city’s Parks Department, it’s the largest event the department holds in the Rockaways, Dowd said.
According to event organizers, this year in particular shows the recovery of the community and how it has rebuilt after Sandy.
Dowd sees the move to the beach as “a celebratory thing,” as they are finally getting the sand that they’ve been promising. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer crews have been placing sand onto Rockaway Beach to help repair and restore the area following Superstorm Sandy.
“We can actually utilize the beach,” he said.
This year attendees will be able to enjoy beach games, such as volleyball and possibly horseshoes.
Though the beach has not been the center of previous Rockstock and Barrels Festivals, it has played an important role through the surf competition.
Sponsored by the Atlantic Surf Federation, “people come from far and near for this event,” Dowd said.
The festival, which was attended by almost 8,000 people last year, attracts visitors from all over the city and beyond. To service them, OvRride will have special “luxury buses” with pick-ups and drop-offs in Manhattan and Williamsburg, according to Dowd.
Rockstock and Barrels will additionally feature companies that come to share their goods, and the event is still accepting vendors and seeking more sponsors.
To find out more about the festival, and vendor and sponsorship opportunities, click here.
“We just want to see the event grow… to bring awareness to how amazing this beach is,” Dowd said.
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