SKATERS are preparing to hit the heights this weekend as Dorchester hosts its fifth annual Skate Jam.

Riders and skateboarders have even more of a reason to drop in to the popular celebration at Dorchester skatepark this year.

The event, which starts at 11am on Saturday, has added importance as it forms one of the qualifying stages of a major skate festival for the first time.

The Dorchester Skate Jam is an official qualifier for the NASS action sports and music festival in Somerset.

The next nearest qualifiers geographically are in Gloucestershire and Cardiff, offering a major opportunity for local riders to make a bid to take part in the festival.

There will also be a whole host of entertainment on the day, with the event organised by Dorchester Skatepark Committee with support from organisations such as Dorchester Town Council and West Dorset District Council.

The whole event is completely free and offers a chance for all ages to get involved.

Participants under the age of nine are required to bring an adult to register them and all riders and skaters are advised to wear helmets and other suitable safety gear.

There will be stalls and musical entertainment running throughout the day, with a host of leading skating and BMX firms bringing teams of riders and offering prizes and giveaways.

Community development officer for West Dorset District Council Emma Scott said: “I am really impressed by the amount of great help this event has been given from the people who have organised it and those who are running activities and stalls on the day.

“The business support and sponsorship we have had has been outstanding and the additional stalls will make this a top quality event for people of all ages.”