A little bit of everything and a whole lot of fun, it’s not an exaggeration to claim that the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience — OutdoorX for short — is the Midwest’s premier outdoor adventure festival.
“It’s an outdoor lover’s dream come true,” said Brent Anslinger, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation program manager. “It’s an outdoor enthusiasts’ reunion, but also very inviting for newcomers.”
Eastwood MetroPark – already a popular stomping ground for outdoor adventure seekers – will become a hub of activity October 6-7 with more than 20 outdoor activities. From competitions and demos to camping and live music, OutdoorX offers free fun for all ages and interests. More than 15,000 people attended the two-day event last year.
“When we put on an event like this, it’s like a megaphone to the region, telling them that there’s something really exciting and cool going on in Dayton,” Anslinger said.
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TURNING IT UP A NOTCH
The outdoor demos and competitions have been action-packed since OutdoorX began but, this year, competitors are turning it up a notch.
While the regional DockDogs event made a splash, this year, OutdoorX is hosting the DockDogs Worldwide National Championship – the world’s premier canine aquatics competition.
Standup paddleboarding will also make a splash with both the skillful SUP Surf Competition and the exciting SUP Cross Race. Local SUP athlete Shannon Thomas is doing double duty as an organizer and competitor.
“It’s fun to compete, but these events are also going to be a lot of fun to watch,” Thomas said.
SUP surf competitors will have one minute per run to show off their best tricks, with five total runs to highlight their whitewater surfing kills. SUP cross racers will battle head-to-head through the buoys with the top two placers advancing to the next heat.
“We had a soft trial run last year, and it was great, Thomas said. “We’re expecting even more competitors this year,” Thomas said.
On dry land, the Inspired Stunt Shows team will take BMX tricks to new heights with two ramps instead of one. And there will also be an exciting new slackline show.
OutdoorX is also “the” place to try your hand at a variety of outdoor activities. The little ones can get rolling on the pumptrack and check out the many activities at the Youth Adventure Zone – from animal encounters to climbing and nature play.
All ages can head back to the classroom at the Outdoor School. Learn how to pack your backpack or select the ideal campsite. You can also get fitted with the perfect pack.
A portable climbing wall will enable climbers of all ages to try this exciting and challenging sport. As in years past, there will be a paddling, slacklining, fishing and disc golf to try as well as a variety of fitness classes – yoga, Zumba, and meditation in the great outdoors.
Experience OutdoorX day and night at the tent campground on the banks of the Eastwood Lagoon. There are spacious oversized camping plots as well as a few spots for small pop-up campers and it’s free.
Nighttime will bring a variety of fun activities as well as a live raffle of gear near the stage. That area will also be the place to connect with members of local outdoor adventure clubs.
“My tagline has been, ‘plan your day to stay because there is so much to try,’” said Angela York, Five Rivers MetroParks special events coordinator.
RELAX OUTDOOR X STYLE
Not everyone wants to break a sweat so there are ample opportunities to chill out.
“This is a great venue for newbies to try stuff in a controlled environment, but people don’t have to participate in the activities,” York said. “There are food trucks, vendors, live music and so many things to watch.”
And don’t forget the always-popular Great Lakes Beer Garden.
In line with the MetroParks’ sustainability vision, organizers are working to reduce waste at the event. All vendors will serve food on compostable materials and bottled water will not be available for purchase. Steel pints will be available onsite for the first beer purchase of the day and visitors are encouraged to bring their own non-glass bottle for water or reusable pint mug for beer.
“Our goal is to be a regional leader in sustainable practices,” Anslinger said. “Each year, we make strides to increase our efforts.”
The compost from the event is used locally at Cox Arboretum.
YOUR DOG CAN COME, TOO
And if the family’s furry friend wants to be part of the fun, OutdoorX is a dog-friendly event with an off-leash dog park and a pooch parking area to leave your puppy while you try your hand at the outdoor adventure activities.
“There is so much to see and do, it really takes a full day to experience it, maybe more,” Thomas said.
WANT TO GO?
What: Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience
When: Oct. 6, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Eastwood MetroPark, 1385 Harshman Road
What: Competitions, demos, camping, live music, exhibitor village, craft beer and food trucks.
More: Participation in various OutdoorX activities requires signing a Risk and Release waiver. Those 18 and under must have a parent or guardian sign it. The waiver is available onsite and online at https://outdoorx.metroparks.org/.
OutdoorX visitors can try their hand at more than 20 outdoor activities, open to all ages and skill levels.
- Dog Activities
- Disc Golf
- Mountain biking
- Outdoor play
- Outdoor skills and safety