June 22 2020

MetroParks Cancels Its Annual Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience

MetroParks encourages people to find new ways to connect to nature.

DAYTON, OH (June 23, 2020) — Due to the uncertainty of precautions that will be in place to slow COVID-19, particularly when it comes to gatherings of large groups, and concern for the health and safety of MetroParks staff, volunteers and community, MetroParks’ annual Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience has been cancelled.

A Five Rivers MetroParks event, the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience is the region’s premier outdoor adventure festival and a celebration of Dayton as the outdoor adventure capital of the Midwest. The event — previously scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4, at Eastwood MetroPark — features dozens of exhibitors and food trucks, live entertainment, competitions and more than 20 hands-on, outdoor activities. Last year, MetroParks welcomed 25,652 attendees to Eastwood MetroPark for this event.

“Families can still enjoy many of the activities that make the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience special in their favorite parks or neighborhood greenspace,” said MetroParks Event Coordinator Angela York.

With 18 clean, safe parks, 160 miles of paved and natural surface trails, and dozens of outdoor recreation amenities, Five Rivers MetroParks offers parkgoers opportunities to spend time in nature hiking, backpacking, cycling, camping, mountain biking, playing disc golf and more. MetroParks encourages people to explore the parks and trails by participating in the new MetroParks Trails Challenge. Those who need gear to help them get outside can find additional information at www.outdoordayton.com.

The Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience encourages attendees to experience outdoor recreation activities so they can find new ways to connect to the natural world and adopt healthy, active lifestyles. MetroParks’ staff, trained volunteers and local recreation clubs host hands-on activities, such as fly fishing, paddling, mountain biking, cycling, climbing, slacklining and more. These activities often require use of shared equipment that’s not easily sanitized between uses in an event format and instruction that makes social distancing impossible.

“An event of this magnitude takes a year to plan and hundreds of MetroParks staff, volunteers, exhibitors, partners, sponsors and recreation professionals who travel from across the country,” York said. “To be good stewards of taxpayer funds, we have to consider the time and resources it takes to successfully plan and host a large-scale event that may ultimately have to be cancelled per CDC and Ohio Department of Health guidelines.”

MetroParks is one of many national and regional parks agencies that has cancelled large events, in addition to local organizations that have cancelled large annual festivals.

“In addition to connecting people to nature through outdoor recreation experiences, the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience is a celebration of all nature can do for your physical and mental well-being,” York said. “Nature is open year-round for everyone to enjoy.”

Five Rivers MetroParks encourages people to spend time in nature, whether it’s their back yard, local greenspace or favorite MetroPark. Activities, resources and ideas that help the public access the outdoors, can be found at metroparks.org/natureisopen and MetroParks’ Facebook page.

“Your MetroParks and trails remain open, and we are encouraged to see households out and about in nature, exploring old favorites and finding new trails,” said Five Rivers MetroParks Executive Director Rebecca Benná.

The public can help keep their outdoor parks and trails open by always following the CDC’s recommendations, particularly for social distancing, and taking preventative actions when in any outdoor space. For the most current information please visit metroparks.org/covid and MetroParks’ social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

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