Organizers of WNC OutdoorAthlon will host a two-day festival on Oct. 8-9 in Franklin, featuring a wide variety of events and activities that will have something in store for everyone. Organizers hope the event will allow visitors, residents, and business owners to interact collectively in showing their appreciation for the area’s unique landscape. The event venue is located at Cullasaja Park just off the Greenway on the Highlands Road.
“We just wanted to put together an event for the community,” said organizer Rob Gasbarro. “This area has something that no other place has. Not New York, Orlando, or any other area. We feel like this will be a great opportunity to show people what Macon County really has to offer,” he said.
The goal for the festival was to put together an event that would highlight the area’s outdoor resources and cultural distinctiveness, and organizers believe WNC OutdoorAthlon will display these features prominently. In examining the festival’s itinerary, the OutdoorAthlon should illustrate what Western North Carolina has to offer to people who love spending time outdoors.
Visitors and residents of all ages will have the opportunity to participate in a number of outdoor activities during the festival. For example, the event will offer free fly-fishing sessions from some of the area’s most respected guides. Kayaking and rock climbing experts will also be on hand to share their experiences and expertise with anyone who is interested in learning more about the respective sports.
Introductory lessons on biking, hiking, disc golf, and pilates will be included in the WNC OutdoorAthlon festival as well, revealing just how diverse the event will be. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in six competitive events, including the area’s first ever adventure triathlon, an ultimate frisbee team tournament, a disc golf skills competition contest, a cornhole tournament, and a 5k run.
The WNC OutdoorAthlon will also cater to the area’s youth, as organizers will feature an interactive kids zone and a competitive Duathlon for kids, ages 6-12. The Duathlon will include a mile-and-a-half bike-ride on the Greenway and a three-quarters of a mile run.
For guests looking to avoid rigorous physical activity, they can lay back and enjoy five renowned bands from the surrounding area, including national recording artist Zach Deputy, an artist that has performed at Bonnaroo. Other bands include Nitrograss, the Corbitt Brothers, and Vertigo Jazz.
Event organizers have marketed the event to more than 10 million people throughout the Western North Carolina region, hoping to open the inaugural WNC OutdoorAthlon festival with a bang. Planners hope the event will be a catalyst in solidifying the area as a prime location for outdoor enthusiasts.
“We have over 80 volunteers and a great music lineup, and I never anticipated that we would have so much help,” said Gasbarro. This originally started out as a local event and turned into something more. We think this is an unbelievable area that has so much to give, and I think this event will demonstrate that,” he said.
Registration for festival activities will be available on site, on the day of the event.