I am not an “outdoorsy” person. But I’m learning. Honestly. If you ask anyone who knew me from grade school, college or even just a few years ago will attest to an increase in the amount of sporting goods equipment I own and the number of shoes featuring actual soles that are created for purposes outside of pure fashion. My greatest impetus for this foray into the outdoors is my husband, followed closely by my occupation. So pretty much “life” is encouraging me to venture off the couch and into the woods.
As a new inductee into a world filled with adventure and hiking boots and roof racks and moisture-wicking clothing, I can tell you it’s a lot of fun. You might feel uncertain about trying a new activity, but if you can brush your trepidation aside for just a little while, you’ll get a peek into what life is like for those friends whose Facebook walls are plastered with photos of their latest exploration.
Your journey can begin Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6, when the Midwest Outdoor Experience, presented by Subaru, rolls into Eastwood MetroPark. Regular festival attendees may remember the event as “GearFest.” Props to those die-hards who were with us from that first swap meet in the PNC 2nd Street Market parking lot. Now that’s grown to a full weekend-long event filled with experiential outdoor activities, we thought a name change would more accurately convey the spirit of the event (and it helped nab some sponsors).
There will be plenty of activities to try, including backpacking, mountain biking at the IMBA Bike Village, canoeing, climbing, disc golf, fly fishing, geocaching, cycling, kayaking, orienteering, skateboarding, slacklining, snow tubing, stand-up paddleboarding, yoga and ziplining. Not ready to take the leap? Be a spectator at one of the demos or competitions.
Headlining this year’s competition slate is the Gibbon USA Slackline Championship. What’s slacklining? Dwight Schrute defines it as “tightrope for babies,” but those who attended last year’s event or watched the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show can tell you it’s an amazing athletic display that’s equal parts Chuck Blondin and Shaun White.
Also not to be missed is the Subaru Ultimate Air Dogs competition. That’s right, in addition to having a full outdoor recreation dance card, this festival is also a celebration of our favorite fuzzy fur-beasts. Enter your dog into the competition or just bask in the gratuitous puppy atmosphere on Subaru Pooch Island. You can even adopt your own dog from the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.
It’s a reasonable assumption that you will be having so much fun, you won’t want to leave. That’s OK; on-site camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis. But if you’re idea of “roughing it” means continental breakfast over room service, be sure to book your room at the official hotel, the Crowne Plaza. There will also be performances via Dayton Music Fest, a beer garden and on-site food vendors to round out your outdoor experience. (listen to the DMF bands playing here on our calendar listing)
True to its roots, you can also get the gear you need to “Get Out & Live” all year long. Stop by the exhibitor village and check out the latest in outdoor recreation equipment and hook up with local clubs and enthusiasts who will really get you on your way. Awaken your dormant inner outdoor adventurer October 5 and 6 at the Midwest Outdoor Experience.