Discover, compete, spectate or chill out — visitors to the Midwest Outdoor Experience can take their pick.
In its 10th year, the two-day event held at Eastwood MetroPark, is the largest outdoor adventure event in the region.
Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator Lucy Sanchez explains more about what visitors can expect.
Q: What is the Midwest Outdoor Experience?
A: The Midwest Outdoor Experience presented by Wagner Subaru is the premier human-powered outdoor recreation event in our region. It’s a weekend of fun for the whole family — including the dog — that includes over 25 experience areas to try, professional demos, competitions, gear and club exhibitors, live music, food, beer and free camping.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Thanks to our 20 sponsors, the event remains free to attend.
Q: Who is the event geared toward? Is there an ideal age?
A: The event targets anyone interested in a healthy outdoor lifestyle, no matter their age or even species. Kids will find activities such as ZipZone Canopy zipline, nature play, and pedal-less bikes in the Buckeye Health Plan Youth Adventure Zone. Teens will get pumped on the MikeSell’s Pump Track, in the try paddlesports area or hopping on our mountain bike course. Adults can enjoy a beverage from the Great Lakes Beer Garden, live music from hot local bands, and everyone will be wowed by professional BMX riders, Jackson Kayak whitewater paddlers, and Subaru Buckeye Dock Dogs. And everyone, including the family dog, is encouraged to stay the weekend in the Klymit Campground powered by True Heights Equipment Outfitters.
Q: Is it only for hardcore outdoor enthusiasts?
A: Absolutely not. The event meets people at all levels of outdoor enthusiasm. By offering free training and equipment in 25 different activity areas, the event is ideal for the would-be outdoor recreationist who is trying an activity for the first time, to an outdoor intermediate looking to make connections with clubs and outdoor retailers, and is a reunion and celebration of the outdoors for seasoned outdoor veterans. It’s suitable for the cross-over individual who is an experienced backpacker and now wants to do kayak camping. Even our competitions range from family and dog friendly — like the Runners Plus Ruff Run — to hardcore, like the State Championship 12-Hour Endurance Race or Disc Golf Pro/Am Tourney. Even the outdoor naysayer in your group will enjoy the festival atmosphere of food vendors, beer garden, live bands and professional demos.
Q: For newcomers to the event, what are some of the most popular activities? What’s on the must-try list?
A: A must is going for a paddle in a kayak, then jumping off the water and on to the Mad River Mountain tubing area. Nothing like water and ice in the same day. Grab a mountain bike and go for a ride, catch the DK Bikes BMX stunt show and test your balance on a slackline.
Q: For those attend the event regularly, what’s new this year?
A: We are pumped, to let the public try out bikes and scooters on a portable pumptrack. Participants can get the perfect fit with the Atmos Backpack Fit Station in the Osprey Backcountry Zone supported by Great Miami Outfitters while chilling in a hammock or building their own custom Princeton Tec headlamp. Slackers are back, but this year professionals will be dueling off during set demo times as well as high-lining across the lagoon. For chilling out there will be social campfires throughout the festival, as well as free breakfast provided by True Heights for those staying in the campground. National manufacturer Jackson Kayak will bring professionals to throw down stunts in the Mad River Run and showcase fly-fishing demos in the Paddlesports Zone. Subaru Buckeye Dock Dogs will not only have the fan favorite long-distance dog jumps but also will also have speed-retrieve and extreme vertical competitions. Additionally, participants will have a chance to win prizes in the Great Miami Outfitters Great Gear Giveaway.
Q: What if you are looking for a more leisurely weekend, is there stuff for the armchair outdoor enthusiast?
A: Sit back in an Adirondack chair listening to the sweet harmonics of Jonny Dreads & the Mystiks, Manray, Shrug, Happy Chichester and more. Enjoy a Kind Bar snack and Great Lakes Beer Garden beverage pairing. Nosh on good eats from the Food Truck Rally while taking in a BMX stunt show, high-flying dogs or hand-standing kayakers.
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