901 Now: Skate instructor electrifying Downtown Memphis

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The electric sounds of roller skates carving on concrete will ring in Downtown’s Riverside Garden for Memphis River Parks’ “Sunset Skate” one final time this year, before the end of the summer.

“Everybody who roller skates has passion about roller skating,” skate instructor Ebony Lemons said. “In our community, in the skate community we are skate addicts. We are addicted to roller skating.”

Some call it a hobby—others, exercise.

Lemons believes it’s much more than that.

Ebony Lemons
Ebony Lemons(Action News 5)

“There’s no drinking, you don’t have to wear high heels, or a tight outfit or anything like that,” Lemons said. “But you can enjoy the vibes as well as get exercise.”

It’s the vibes for Ebony, a feeling she and other skaters share when they come together.

“People don’t know how large the rollerskate community is here in Memphis,” she said. “Because we are so busy out there skating, we don’t have our phones out recording different things we are just out there enjoying the vibes and each other and the music.”

The last Thursday of every summer month during sunset hours, skaters crowd downtown’s river garden swooping and swerving

From beginners to those more advanced, solos to groups, and participants to viewers, everyone laces up for a few hours to escape reality.

“All you hear about is the negativity, all you hear about is robberies, thefts, killings, shootings, all these negative things and Sunset Skate is just a breath of fresh air for people, and I think that’s what makes it so big,” Lemons said.

“So many different people, so many different ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and people that don’t know each other, especially the kids they just come up to me a lot and they’ll just ask questions or try to roller dance with me or anything. So, it’s really fun.”

The last Sunset skate is September 28 from 5 to 8 on Riverside Drive. Skate rentals are FREE and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

When Lemons isn’t leading the Sunset Skate round-up, she offers additional skating lessons through her own skate company. Click here to learn how to sign up for lessons.

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