It is time to get your outdoor on… well, out.
Five Rivers MetroParks will host the Midwest Outdoor Experience from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 at Eastwood MetroPark, 1385 Harshman Road in Dayton.
Admission is free.
The annual event formerly known as GearFest is designed to offer a taste of activities available through the year at the park district’s 25 facilities, including hiking, camping, kayaking and bouldering.
“The event offers a variety of activities for people of all ages, abilities and skill levels to experience the outdoors and develop a personal connection with nature,” said Amy Dingle, the park district’s director of outdoor connections.
This year’s event has a heavy emphasis on reducing trash and waste in connection to the district’s Green Earth Outdoors Waste Free in 3 initiatives.
Organizers hope progressive steps will lead to the festival becoming waste-free.
Kristen Wicker, a MetroParks spokeswoman, said steps are as simple as using hand stamps instead of disposable wrist bands and asking attendees to bring pint glasses or purchase reusable ones in the beer garden.
Before you go, here’s what you need to know about Midwest Outdoor Experience:
Organizers promise treats from food trucks (Read: How to find 18 food trucks you should try) and traditional vendors, but don’t expect water bottles or Styrofoam serving items.
Wicker said food vendors are supporting the Green Earth Outdoors Waste Free in 3 initiative, and will serve food on
locally recyclable or compost-ready materials.
It is a BYORWB (bring your own refillable water bottle) event.
Festival-goers who want to earn extra points from Mother Earth also will bring their own plates, bowls and sporks.
Food trucks (T) and other food vendors include:
• Bolasko’s Concessions
• Chef Orlando’s Jamaican Kitchen
• Dayton Urban BBQ (T)
• El Meson (T)
• Harvest Mobile Cuisine (T)
• Kowalski Hots (Food Cart)
• Red Wagon Cafe (T)
• The Shakery (T)
• Umami Bites (T)
The Beer Garden will feature craft brews from Great Lakes Brewing Company on Friday night. Saturday will hosted by Bonbright Distributors.
The price for the first beer for those without their own pint glasses will be $10. The price includes a Midwest Outdoor Experience branded 16-ounce stainless steel pint cup. Those who bring their own reusable steel or silipint 16-ounce mug will receive $5 off their first beer. Each additional beer will be $5.
Beers include Great Lakes’ Dortmunder Gold Lager, Burning River Pale Ale, Commodore Perry IPA, Perry IPA, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Perry IPA, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and Nosferatu Imperial Red.
Things to do
There is a long list of activities and areas to explore, including adaptive sports, backpacking, A Bark Zone for dogs, a bike village, bouldering, canoeing, climbing, disc golf, a fitness program, a fisherman’s village, geocaching, group bike rides, a hammock lounge, inline skating, kayaking, night ultimate disc, orienteering, an outdoor school, skateboarding, a slackline park, snow tubing, stand-up paddleboarding, wheelie fun zone, whitewater kayaking for kids, a youth adventure zone and ziplining.
A schedule can be found here. See the image embedded in this story for a map.
The list of exhibitors includes: Adventures on the Great Miami, Airborne Bicycles, American Cancer Society, Pan Ohio Hope Ride, American Diabetes Association Tour De Cure, American Discovery Trail, Aquatic Realm Scuba Center, Backpacker Magazine, Barz USA, Bike Miami Valley, Bike-Ohio.com, Bloom Products LLC, Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail, Buckeye Trail Association, Camp Kern, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Dayton Cycling Club, Dayton Hikers, Dayton Ski & Board, DK Bicycles, Field and Stream, Five Rivers MetroParks, Flow 397, Gander Mountain, Gem City Gauntlet, Gem City Rollergirls, getBOLDgetBODIED LLC, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Glen Helen, Great Miami Outfitters, Great Parks of Hamilton County, Hocking Hills Canoe Livery, Hocking Hills Canopy Tours, Humane Society of Greater Dayton, IMBA, Juice Plus, K9 Solutions Center, Kettering Bike Shop, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Links and Kinks, Mad River Mountain, Miami Group Sierra Club, Miami Valley Fly Fishers and Miami Valley Geocachers.
As well as Miami Valley Mountain Bike Association, Miami Valley Orienteering Club, Miami Valley Outdoor Club, Miles for Freedom, Mud, Guts & Glory , National Association of Professional River Anglers (NAPRA, National Parks Service, New World Alpaca Textiles, NOLS National Outdoor Leadership School, Noxgear, ODNR – Division of Watercraft, ODNR — Scenic Rivers and Water Trails Program, Ohio Dreams, Ohio Paddlers, Omega Survival Supply, Osprey Packs, Our Life Outside, Outdoor Adventure Connection, Project Warmth, REI, Real Time Pain Relief, Rivers Institute at the University of Dayton, Riversport, Runners Plus, Sit Means Sit, Subway Fresh Fit, TAASC — The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition, Thoroughbred Fitness, Tomfoolery Outdoors, Torrent Falls Climbing Adventure, Trout Unlimited — Madmen Chapter, True Heights Equipment Outfitters, TykesBykes, The Unit, Vibram, Victoria Theatre Association, Wash Your Dog, Whitewater Warehouse, Zip Zone Canopy Tours and Zuke’s.
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Midwest Outdoor Experience by the numbers:
• 300 — the number of volunteer shifts
• 26 — the number activities
• 13 — the number competitions
• More than 20,000 — the number of people who attended last year’s festival
• 6 — the number of demo areas
• 84 — the number of exhibitors
• 12 — the number of live music acts
Five Rivers MetroParks by the numbers:
• 25 — the number of facilities
• 160 — the number of miles of trails for hiking, cycling, mountain biking and horseback riding that wind through nearly 16,000 acres of parkland
• More than 300 — the number of miles of paved bikeways — the largest connected corridor in the country
• 270 — the number of miles of scenic river corridor, perfect for fishing and paddling
(Source: Five Rivers Metro Parks)