Outdoor Expo draws crowd

Outdoor Expo draws crowd

April 11th, 2010 by Brittany Cofer in Sports - Outdoors

Whether it's biking, rock climbing or even hula-hooping, the fourth annual Outdoor Expo and Gear Swap on Saturday provided something for every outdoor enthusiast.

The event, held by Outdoor Chattanooga and Rock/Creek, brought out hundreds of people who walked through a sunny Coolidge Park in search of outdoor equipment.

For the past two years, rains and cool weather have put a damper on the event, but Outdoor Chattanooga Executive Director Philip Grymes said this year's warm weather made the expo a success.

"It's usually held the last weekend in March, but we decided to push it back and now we're into April and the weather has really cooperated," he said. "We've seen a lot more foot traffic this year."

Staff Photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press Blaine Reese, right, demonstrates the fundamentals of beekeeping to Lester Grimes during the fourth annual Outdoor Expo and Rock/Creek Gear Swap in Coolidge Park on Saturday.

Staff Photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press ...

Also at Coolidge on Saturday were the Chattanooga Green Festival and Chattanooga Parent Magazine Kids Summer Fun Zone, which Mr. Grymes said helped to attract a larger audience than in previous years. More than 100 vendors were at the three events, with retailers, summer camps and outreach organizations among them.

"It's great," said Allison Burk, 21, who came for the second year with her husband and 2-year-old son. "There's more stuff here this year. It's a lot better."

Michael Phillips, owner of SUP Paddleboards, gave free trials of his stand-up paddleboards and said the turnout was more than he expected.

Lia Harrel, owner of HoopTonic, said she had people stop by her booth all day asking about the colorful handmade hula hoops and the physical fitness of what she calls "hoop dancing."

"We thought it would be a good opportunity to bring hoop dancing to Chattanooga, and we were going to see what the feedback was and it has been wonderful," she said.