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Taking part: Outside Games get audience involved


A five day celebration of all things Central Oregon kicked off Wednesday. Kayaking, paddleboard races, slack-lining and rock climbing are just some of the activities offered in the fifth annual Outside Games.

Marketing Director Bart Platt said the festival is special because the audience doesn’t just spectate — it participates.

“All the Outside Games is about getting involved and actually doing the activities yourself,” he said. ” So we have world -lass athletes coming, and they’ll be showing you amazing things — but they’ll also be teaching you how to do them.”

Every event will have a demonstration portion. so the community can experience the activities.

“If you’ve ever wanted to try slack-line, but you didn’t want to go up to the people in the park and get on their line, we have professionals that will show you the cool stuff you can do, and actually get you on the stuff to start playing,” Platt said.

Wednesday night’s kick-off party, Pickin’ and Paddlin’, was hosted by Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe. Owner Geoff Frank said it’s a community celebration with humble beginnings.

“It started as just a little grass roots thing, where we’d go out paddling on a river, or do a river cleanup, and come back and have some friends of the shop just picking some music on the back lawn and picnicking and barbecuing,” he said.

This year, interest is so high they limited attendance to 450 people. Frank said last year around 800 people stopped by, and he wanted to cut back so it’s more intimate.

Like the other Outside Games events, guests were encouraged to get involved.

“It’s the kickoff to summer,” Frank said. “School’s out, welcome summer. Let’s get outside and play.”

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