Introducing: The Very First Memphis Outdoor Festival
We have a brand new festival in Memphis this year called the Memphis Outdoor Festival. It's October 18 – 19 at Shelby Farms Park and features mountain bike races on Saturday, a 5K/10K trail runs on Sunday, plus a beer garden and other activities like paddle boats, live music (three bands each day), and dock dogs all weekend. You can see a list of events and prices here.
I interviewed Patrick Culligan, Jr., avid cyclist, outdoor enthusiast, "Facilitator of Fun", and founder of the festival. Here's what he shared with me.
Holly: How did the Memphis Outdoor Festival get started?
Patrick: The mission has always been bring the Tour de Wolf trail back to what I remember riding and racing on when I was 10, 11, 12 years old. It's a very sore subject among the people who have been riding mountain bikes in the Mid-South long enough to remember when Shelby Farms was a regional destination for mountain biking and how much work it now needs.
If I didn't love mountain biking so much and want to see racing return to one of my favorite trails that is benefiting from this, it wouldn't happen. The support an encouragement from the biking community has been incredible.
Holly: If you aren't a runner, or a mountain bike rider, or you have kids, should you go to the festival?
Patrick: Kid friendly/non-racing activities include cheering on mom or dad in the races, watching dock dogs, listening to the live music, and eating delicious food. Those 21+ will also be able to drink the beer we have on-site.
We will have a ramp into the water for the bravest riders to jump into in addition to the inner tube inflatable skinny plank crossing, both crowd favorites.
Holly: Can you tell me just a little about the Tour de Wolf trail?
Patrick: Tour de Wolf trail is a 10K trail that is in serious need of repair. It is where I first raced a mountain bike and I plan on bringing it back to what it deserves to be.
Holly: Are you seeing some people from nearby regions/other parts of the country coming to participate?
Patrick: We expect that in the first year we will have some people from neighboring cities and are seeing some mountain bikers and runners register from St. Louis, Little Rock, and Nashville.
Our goal is to turn this into a regional festival and a major draw for Memphis, showcasing one of the best parks in the nation.
Holly: What will the proceeds go to/benefit?
Patrick: The Festival proceeds benefit Shelby Farms. A portion of every ticket also goes to the Park conservancy, a non-profit.
My company, Project Tanline LLC, is not a non-profit however, we are creating and financing a sustainable event that will greatly impact many people in a positive way. We hope they buy some beer.
Holly: Can you tell me more about how to sign up for paddle boarding and mountain bike demos?
Patrick: We expect there to be a waiting line to try the limited number of stand up paddle boards and mountain bikes available to demo. We will work to schedule people so they are not waiting as long. (Ed. Note: go here to sign up).
Holly: How much does it cost?
Patrick: The Festival is free to enter but the races cost money to enter.
Ed. Note: The mountain bike races entry fees range from $20 for the Junior Beginner division to $50 for the "Sufferfest!" expert division. There is a free 1K race for kids 10 and under. The 5K and 10K races are $20 and $30, respectively
Memphis Outdoor Festival
October 18 – 19, 2014
Shelby Farms Park
8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.