Aimee McConkie is convinced that the key to getting families and individuals to enjoy outdoor recreation is to introduce them to something new and fun.
That's the main reason she has volunteered each of the past seven years to organize the Venture Outdoors Festival. The free event is scheduled this year on Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m. at Canyon Rim Park, 3100 S. 2900 East, with dozens of activities planned.
More than 7,000 are expected to attend the festival to enjoy hands-on recreation clinics, live music on two stages, cooking demonstrations, animal clinics and numerous children activities.
"This is all about giving people their first exposure to outdoor recreation," McConkie said. "As I looked at how I participated in sports and activities, you do something because you had a familiarity with it. Perhaps your family did it. People get new exposure and an opportunity to try new things and it lodges in their memory."
For example, she said a cyclist might want to try mountain boarding, climbing or Dutch oven cooking.
"That lights a spark in people and they get excited about outdoor recreation," she said. "There are so many things going on and so many activities for children and families. People can have the experience of walking through this big open space, and there are fun activities everywhere they can participate in."
Events this year include an AirMed Helicopter, animal adoptions, archery, art workshops, ATV rides, camping tips, bird and reptile shows, a dunk tank, Dutch oven cooking, fire prevention, fishing, golfing, health tips, mini-train rides, an incendiary circus, mountain biking, orienteering challenge, pony rides, a rock climbing wall, rugby clinic, solar day party and soccer party.
The event is part of celebrating National Get Outdoors Day. Some of the activities that include a volleyball camp, a group hike in Mill Creek Canyon, 5K walk, a Volksmarch, outdoor game clinic and biking activities occur before the festival begins.