Are you heartbroken that your summer of fun has come to an end? There’s no need to be. The inaugural year of the Meet the Mountains Festival in Founders Park offers one last chance for adventure before the semester begins. As William Blake once said, “Great things are done when man and mountains meet.”
Meet the Mountains begins Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. and ends Aug. 25 at 10 p.m. The festival is a family and pet-friendly festival presented by Ballad Health. It was created to find the gear, people and resources to help communities navigate Northeast TN’s natural landscape. There are four zones to the festival, each with relevant activities: Air, water, earth and moto. Each zone will have activities for all skill levels, from beginner to expert, and some even for pets. Some of the activities may have an associated cost, but attendance to the festival is free.
“Within the zones, festival goers will be able to demo different brands of mountain bikes, navigate through an obstacle and ropes course, sit in an off-road vehicle, try out paddleboards in a demo pool, test out fishing poles and/or sign up for a yoga class,” said Kayla Carter, Outdoor Development Manager with Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, in a press release provided about the festival. “The majority of the vendors are non-profits that specialize in various outdoor activities. We are excited about partnering with these organizations because we want this festival to be the place to come find the people and resources to learn more about outdoor recreation in the region.”
There will be more than 50 vendors and 40 different food trucks, including ETSU Outdoor Adventure, ETSU Human Services and Counseling, Auntie Ruth’s Donuts and Project Waffle. Other festival activities will also include information sessions, local live music, a silent disco and outdoor movies, including “Moana” sponsored by ETSU on Saturday night. Even with so many vendors and activities, though, there will be limited sales of bottled water. Attendees are instead encouraged to bring their own bottles or purchase a bottle to be filled for free at a water tank onsite in support of reducing the festival’s footprint on Northeast TN’s natural assets.
“This festival will foster collaboration among various user groups that are passionate about the outdoors,” said Carter. “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.”
The festival committee has also partnered with events and competitions across the region. These offsite events can be found on the festival website, but a few include: The Nolichucky Triple Threat, Buffalo Mountain Sunrise Hike, Roan Mountain State Park’s Full Moon Balds Hike, Group Mountain Bike Ride at ETSU Trail System and Run the Tweetsie 5K & 10K.
If you’re looking for a new hobby, summer adventure or just something to do around campus for the weekend, more information can be found at mtmfest.com or by following the festival on Facebook and Instagram @meetthemountainsfest. To inquire about getting more involved, call the NETREP office at 423-202-3510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.