Last year’s inaugural event was a triumph, and sponsors plan to build on that success this year.
Earlier this month, Press staff writer W. Kenneth Medley II reported that Gavin Andrews, director of sports development for the Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, wants the festival to be a departure from the walk-through-and-look experience found at many similar events. Organizers want Meet The Mountains to be more about participating in outdoor recreation rather than just watching.
“Everything at Founders Park is going to be free,” Andrews said. “We are committed to keeping it free for all the folks that attend those events. We are planning on bringing back as much as we can and adding to that.”
Many of the events will have day-of registration. Some competitions will not be free, and more information can be found online at MTMFest.com or @meetthemountainsfest on Facebook.
We asked Kayla Carter, outdoor development manager for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, to answer a few questions about this year’s two-day festival.
• What is Meet The Mountains?
“It's a free festival where people can come try out a variety of outdoor recreation activities, learn new skills, listen to live music and drink some beer.”
• Why is it held?
“Our mission is to promote healthy, active lifestyles and bring awareness to all the amazing outdoor recreation opportunities in our region. We want people to get out and meet our mountains. In addition to that, the funds raised through the festival will go back into the community to help fund outdoor recreation projects.”
• When is it held and where?
“The festival will be held Aug. 23-24 in Founder's Park in downtown Johnson City.”
• What's new with this year's festival?
“We are planning to have a marketplace in the pavilion for outfitters and brands to sell gear. We would like to also have a zip line on the lawn, but we still need to secure a sponsor for that.”
• Why should families go?
It's a great opportunity for families to connect with each other as well as the outdoors. Our festival aims to reduce barriers to entry (such as expense, lack of confidence) related to outdoor recreation. We provide free, entry-level opportunities for families to learn about opportunities and ways to get outdoors.
“For families and individuals who are experts in specific outdoor recreation activities, we cross-promote events and opportunities throughout the region for them to get outdoors.”