SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — We’re just a week-and-a-half away from the beginning of another outdoor concert season at Levitt at the Falls. One of the highlights of the season takes place in July when song combines with sport to turn downtown Sioux Falls into a national skateboarding destination. The upcoming free Innoskate festival will showcase how the benefits of skateboarding extend far beyond the physical.

A Sioux Falls venue known for its music will be singing the praises of skateboarding this summer.

“Oftentimes, people think of the West Coast and the East Coast as being sort of the places to skateboard. My goal is to make Sioux Falls the mecca of the Midwest for skateboarding,” Levitt at the Falls Executive Director Nancy Halverson said.

Levitt at the Falls will host a festival celebrating the culture of skateboarding, called Innoskate July 7th through the 9th. Organizers say landing this event is quite an accomplishment for the city.

“Growing up skateboarding in Sioux Falls 30 years ago, never could I imagine that anything of any sort of importance regarding skateboarding would be happening in Sioux Falls,” Sioux Falls Skatepark Association President Walter Portz said.

Organizers say the Levitt shell is an ideal location for the event since skateboarding and music have a long history together.

“People don’t often realize that skateboarders curate their music almost to the point like an ice skater does. When they choose music, the tempos, the rhythm, the style of music, to help support their run,” Halverson said.

The Levitt staff is teaming with the Smithsonian Institution and the organization, USA Skateboarding. With so many national and local groups involved, Halverson says planning for the event is a lot like herding cats.

“It is a colorful group of cats. So we’ve got the academics from the Smithsonian, we’ve got the guys from USA Skate Team, we’ve got all our local skaters, we’ve got great artists we’re working with,” Halverson said.

The block surrounding the Levitt shell will be filled with activities for skateboarders of all skill levels. There will even be a temporary skate park on Phillips Avenue next to the Levitt.

“So just hitting all areas of the culture of skateboarding from the music to the science, the sport, all of it,” Halverson said.

Another focus of Innoskate will be the healing power of skateboarding. The president of the Sioux Falls Skatepark Association is familiar with the sport’s therapeutic value.

“For me personally, I’ve struggled with anxiety and ADHD over the years, and as soon as I hop on a skateboard it’s like everything that’s troubling me kind of disappears because I have to focus on what I’m doing,” Portz said.

That’s why panelists at Innoskate will explore the science of skateboarding and the benefits it brings to the body and mind.

“There are actually institutions in the United States that focus mental health and addiction treatment around extreme sports, in particular, skateboarding and snowboarding. So it is definitely like the physical-ness of it and the awareness that you have to have doing it, definitely is a healing in and of itself,” Portz said.

Organizers have raised more than $125-thousand dollars to put on the skateboarding festivals in both Pine Ridge and Sioux Falls. They credit strong community support for surpassing their fundraising goal.

“I think we’re a community that understands when we come together, we can make just about anything happen,” Halverson said.

The Innoskate festival will be held in Pine Ridge on July 5th, before coming to Sioux Falls.