published Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Outdoor Expo brings info, bargains, new pets

People roam past some of the displays at last year’s Outdoor Expo at Coolidge Park.
People roam past some of the displays at last year’s Outdoor Expo at Coolidge Park.
Photo: Outdoor Chattanooga
  • photo
    Roddy Reynolds from Blowing Springs Kennel will lead chocolate Labradors through tricks.
    Photo by Photo: Outdoor Chattanooga

Dogs and handmade bicycles will be among the display highlights Saturday at Coolidge Park, but the best part of the day may be the bargains on outdoor equipment.

Two local custom-frame bike builders, Moccasin Bend Cycle and Silent Cycle, will make their Outdoor Expo & Gear Swap debuts among the 45 or so exhibitors at the eighth annual Outdoor Chattanooga event, and Roddy Reynolds of Blowing Springs Kennel will be back after a few years' absence to show what his chocolate Labrador retrievers can do.

"He's a magician in training those chocolate Labs. He's kind of like a dog whisperer," Outdoor Chattanooga's Ruthie Thompson said Wednesday.

Reynolds' Lab shows are set for 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The event lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the east side of the park, and it will be held regardless of the weather, Thompson said.

"On a sunny day we'll usually have between 1,500 and 2,000 people come through. If it's a rainy day, probably 300 to 500," Thompson said. "The weather forecast looks really good for Saturday, so we're expecting a high turnout."

Electric Bike Specialists will have bikes that some people can try out, and the Sierra Club's local Cherokee Group and the Hamilton County Master Gardeners will host a rain barrel workshop at noon.

There also will be health and therapy businesses discussing their services -- and demonstrating some.

The Humane Educational Society, the Humane Animal League's Pet Placement Center and Labby Lane Kennels will provide introductions to adoptable dogs available at area shelters and service organizations.

The expo and second-annual Adoptalooza dog adoption portion of the event are free. And the Gear Swap part can be -- or very cheap, at any rate.

"The Gear Closet is a second-hand consignment store for outdoor gear. They'll be there with some good deals," Thompson said. "And Rock/Creek will be bringing a lot of their closeout stuff."

Luwazo and Jocksale also will be represented, and private gear swappers are encouraged as well. People looking for equipment can exchange their used stuff for someone else's, or they can find low prices on even new gear.

"This a really good chance for folks to get cheap stuff before play season starts," Thompson said.

Sportsman's Warehouse will be among the exhibitors, along with outdoor organizations such as the Tennessee Clean Water Network, the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, Ivy Academy and Green Trips Chattanooga. Merchandise, services, activities and programs will be shown and explained.

L2 Boards and Privateer Yacht Club will display watercraft, for example.

"We do this to give the public the opportunity to see what's available to connect them with the outdoors in the Chattanooga area," Thompson said. "How they can access ways to get outside and play."

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.

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