By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 9, 2019
VALODSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Beating the heat by getting on a board; Wake Up Fest kicks off in Valdosta on Friday.
The event is being held at the Valdosta Wake Compound right off I-75.
Wake Up Fest has been held in Valdosta for seven years now; what started as a small get together has now grown into bringing in hundreds of athletes and musicians from all over the nation.
On Saturday, skateboarding and wake-skating competitions will take over the compound.
Wake-skating is a bit of a mix between wakeboarding and skateboarding. Athletes are not strapped in, often riding wooden boards.
Alex Hayne has been part of the wakeboarding community for nearly two decades, and will be taking part in the weekend's competition.
"It's one of those elusive things, it keeps you coming back because you can't ever master it," said Hayne. "There's just something about it, keeps me coming back."
Wake Up Fest is a community event with a twist. Organizers say the festival is a unique opportunity to spotlight a community that continues to grow across South Georgia.
"Because Valdosta is so diverse anyways, with the Air Force Base and the college, you have so many different people from all over the world coming here," said Jimi Davies, founder of Wake Up Fest. "This is a sport that's very big all over the entire world, and it's a very big community sport. So you have so many people that get to come out here and be a bigger part of a community."
Last year, the event brought close to 400 people. This year, more are expected.
With a unique facility like the Valdosta Wake Compound, and events like Wake Up Fest, organizers hope the community continues to grow.
"[Davies] is all about the wake up, have a good time. just because it's hot out doesn't mean we have to be inside and scared of life," Hayne said.
Festivities and music will begin Friday, but most of the competitions will be held on Saturday. More than a dozen bands from around the nation are expected to perform.
The event is free and open to the public. Guests can also purchase campsites. All of the proceeds will go back to the artists, and cover the cost of the event.