Outdoor Adventure Expo features vendors, workshops, regional craft beverages and more
Outdoor recreation lovers will want to head to the Pennsylvania Wilds community of Bellefonte — located in the I-80 Frontier — this October 3 for the annual Outdoor Adventure Expo.
Over the course of 2020 and 2021, many relied on outdoor adventures and natural regional assets for an escape during the pandemic — making the 2021 Outdoor Adventure Expo well-positioned to attract those that found a new outdoor hobby or adventure-related skill.
“If the last year and a half has highlighted anything it is the need for outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Troy Weston, the event chairman for the Expo and a volunteer for host organization Downtown Bellefonte Inc. “The Outdoor Adventure Expo highlights what is best about Bellefonte and Centre County: The beautiful and easily accessible natural assets and the vendors, nonprofits and businesses that specialize in outdoor and recreation-related products.”
The OAE is a free-admission, regional event made to connect residents and visitors to the product and places to get you into some adventure. The event also serves as a fundraiser for Downtown Bellefonte Inc. to aid in its economic development initiatives. It’s held from noon to 5 p.m. in Talleyrand Park, near Big Spring Spirits.
Weston dreamed up the event, which was held once previously in 2019, and brought the idea to Downtown Bellefonte Inc.
“The Outdoor Adventure Expo is an event I thought of for new, returning and longtime residents of Centre County,” he said. “Even after living here for almost twenty years, I’m surprised at the volume of the many adventure-related groups, trails, lakes, streams and other ways to explore in the area. There are adventures here I am still learning about.
“So that got me thinking: we need an expo to feature all these opportunities. This type of event — coupled with vendors and makers who carry equipment to achieve these adventures — would be an easy way to introduce the community to what’s beyond our backyard.”
Bellefonte, he said, is a gateway to adventure.
“Besides literally being a gateway to the PA Wilds (the I-80 Frontier region is considered to be the Wilds’ ‘welcome mat’), Bellefonte is surrounded by hiking, biking, camping and, of course, fishing spots. We are well known for the Class A fly fishing stream, but there is so much more. And to have this amazing space in Talleyrand Park to showcase the beauty and adventure awaiting those who live and visit the area – it just seems like a no-brainer (to hold the event here).”
What to Expect
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Visitors can expect to see regional vendors made up of outdoor gear makers or gear suppliers, representatives from local attractions, local and state park representatives, local non-profits, tour guides, fly fishing opportunities, and food vendors.
The event will also feature live music and craft beverage producers – members of the Central PA Tasting Trail.
“Workshops and demonstrations will be held by vendors such as Backcountry Spine and Sport, Tussey Mountain Outfitters, Appalachian Outdoors, Jabebo Earrings, Milkweed Monarchy, Local Historia, Alabaster Coffee Roaster & Tea Co., RE Farm Café, Nittany Ridge Apiary and more,” Weston said. “We have more than 25 new vendors this year, including Nittany Ridge Apiary, RepresentPA Brand, the PA Wilds, Hevel Supply Co., several PA State Parks, Spring Creek Picnics and the Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society.”
Planning Your Visit
“Bellefonte has something for everyone,” says Jennilyn Schuster, Main Street Manager for Downtown Bellefonte Inc. “Visitors can stay in one of our charming bed & breakfasts, all located in the heart of Bellefonte’s National Historic District. The recently renovated Gamble Mill has a boutique hotel with single rooms as well as 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom suite accommodations.”
In addition, Schuster said there are several Airbnb options in the heart of downtown as well as hotels just outside of town.
“While in town be sure to check out our local shops, boutiques, eateries, craft beverage establishments and galleries.”
Both Weston and Schuster agree: Plan your visit around adventure opportunities.
“When visitors return to Happy Valley this fall they should seek adventure,” Weston said. “Either by paddling a local stream, visiting a local lake, fly fishing our class A trout stream or taking a hike up Mount Nittany or Rothrock state forest. There’s too many opportunities to make it a single adventure. Come and stay for a long weekend!”