By Dave Ongie
The weekend of Aug. 24-25 will be a busy one for outdoor enthusiasts in our region.
From the Nolichucky Triple Threat in Erwin, the Watauga Lake Triathlon in Carter County, the Dive, Ride and Stride Kids Triathlon in Johnson City and the Sugar Hollow cycling race in Bristol, the area will be awash in outdoor activity.
With that in mind, the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership will launch a festival called “Meet the Mountains” on that weekend. The goal of the festival, which will be centered in Founders Park, is to be a tie that binds the entire outdoor community.
“This festival will foster collaboration among various user groups that are passionate about the outdoors,” said Kayla Carter, the Outdoor Development manager for NETREP. “The goal is to have this free festival serve as an annual coming together of the region’s outdoor community.
“We also want to encourage partnership by cross-promoting existing or new events and competitions that take place throughout the region on this particular weekend. We also welcome other businesses and organizations to apply as a vendor or support the festival by offering to host an information session.”
There has been a concerted effort as of late to market Johnson City as a basecamp for all the scenic destinations located a short distance from the city’s revitalized downtown, and this festival certainly meshes well with that strategy. While there will be a lot to do Downtown, particularly in Founders Park, the festival will also serve as a portal to adventures taking place in nearby towns.
“We definitely see a lot of value in promoting our outdoor assets for visitors and locals alike. Meet the Mountains is definitely going to help do just that,” said Jenna Moore, sales director for the Johnson City Convention & Visitors Bureau. “When you come to the event, you’ll find a lot of hands-on experiences, demonstrations and activities throughout the festival.”
The festival will strive to meet people where they are. For those looking to adopt a more active lifestyle or develop a new outdoor hobby, there will be educational sessions as well as product demos. For those who are already outdoor enthusiasts, venders will be on hand with products that will help them upgrade their experiences.
Meet the Mountains will be organized into three sections – Air, Water and Earth. Matt Whitson, the owner of Overmountain Outdoors envisions the Air Zone including activities such as slacklining, rock climbing, disc golf, yoga and zip lining.
Chad Wolfe, who owns Trek Bikes, said the Earth Zone will include mountain biking, road biking and hiking. Matt Moses of USA Raft and Mountain River Guides said whitewater rafting and fishing will be major components of the Water Zone. Music, food trucks, a kid’s zone and outdoor movies will also be part of the free event.
For more information, visit www.mtmfest.com, call the NETREP office at 423.202.3510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.