By Bill Chamberlin
Originally published in The View Outdoors
May 31, 2019
When Emily Burt and her husband opened Republic Brewing Company in the town’s old fire hall eight years ago, Bobby Whittaker, owner of the building, proposed to her that they co-organize an outdoor festival. At the time, Burt, overwhelmed by the task of starting a business, could not even consider the idea.
Fast forward to January 2019. Whittaker ran into Burt at the Ferry County Rail Trail Ski Day and broached the idea again. Whittaker had spent much of the intervening years helping to make the Ferry County Rail Trail a polished recreational gem for the community. He wanted a way to show off the trail and to share the numerous Ferry County recreational opportunities. Burt had honed her skills at organization and publicity by providing the community with a plethora of live music. With the brewery business now fully established, she had the willingness and experience to get involved in a festival. Burt agreed to work with Whittaker and the planning began for the First Annual Get Out Fest, to take place on the weekend of June 27-30.
The goal of the Get Out Fest is to provide an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to discover and enjoy the recreational and cultural opportunities that exist in the Republic area. As Whittaker points out, “Outdoor recreation is northeast Washington’s new side hustle and Get Out Fest is the perfect jump off point for folks who want to get familiar with the area. Ferry County is rich with public lands and everyone under the sun is invited.” Ferry County residents and visitors alike will have an opportunity to participate in organized activities on Curlew Lake, on the Colville National Forest and right in downtown Republic.
Burt and Whittaker, along with a cadre of willing volunteers, have reached out successfully to many recreation groups in an effort to provide a variety of outdoor experiences. The eastern Washington Chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance will lead a 14-mile loop ride from Jungle Hill Campground up to the Kettle Crest, circling Columbia Mountain and returning. The Pacific Northwest Trail Association will offer a six-mile hike on the Sherman Loop Trail, starting at Sherman Pass. REI Co-op will provide kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for use on Curlew Lake on Saturday and Sunday. The Curlew Lake Association will host a fishing derby on Saturday of the fest. Get Out Fest participants may dig for fossils at the Stonerose Fossil Site in Republic. Vaagen Bros. Lumber of Colville has generously provided for the use of a portable climbing wall while Columbia Cedar, a Ferry County mill, will be providing additional events at a Kid’s Zone. In an effort to get young people involved in outdoor recreation all of these events will be family-friendly.
Highlighting the weekend will be half-marathon and 5K runs on the Golden Tiger Pathway and the Ferry County Rail Trail on Saturday. These events will be professionally timed and each runner will receive a t-shirt and a participation medal.
What makes the Fest unique is the base camp concept. The Ferry County Fairgrounds will serve as a central place for participants to return to each day from their chosen outdoor activities (climbing wall and Kid’s Zone are on site at the fairgrounds). Sites are available for tents and RVs for all three nights, with bathrooms and showers available. The Ferry County Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington will have a trailer focusing on Leave No Trace backcountry use at the fairgrounds for the entire weekend. A booth offering suggestions for independent exploration of the area will be set up on site as well.
Local food vendors will provide food and refreshments at the fairgrounds to augment what campers bring with them. Fest participants may enjoy alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at a beer garden. A free breakfast will be provided on Saturday morning by the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition.
Evening entertainment will also be provided at the Get Out Fest. The banjo duo, The Lowest Pair, will play a pre-fair concert (pass-the-hat cover) on Thursday night at Republic Brewing Company. On Friday night at the fairgrounds an outdoor movie will be shown sponsored by the new Eureka Gulch Community Clubhouse. A special bonus for Fest participants is the Stonerose Museum and Fossil Site Dinner and Auction, to be held upstairs in the fair barn at 5 p.m. on Saturday. A $25 admission for this annual fundraiser will provide a meal catered by Pearl’s Smokehouse and an opportunity to bid on a large selection of exciting items and experiences. Also on Saturday night, The Cave Singers, a twangy indie folk band from Seattle, will perform on the fair stage. (Don’t forget to bring camp chairs and/or blankets for the movie and concert.)
Most of the organized activities—the movie, the concert and the outdoor activities—will be available to participants for a single registration fee ($5 in advance, $10 at the gate, kids under 18 free). Sunday’s half-marathon registration fee is $45; the five-kilometer run registration fee is $30. Runners in either race will receive a t-shirt and a participation medal. Camping at the fairgrounds costs $20 for the weekend (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights). RV camping costs $30 per night.
Get Out Fest organizers would welcome additional volunteers to help with various aspects of the event. If interested, please contact Karrie Stevens at email@example.com. The $5 registration fee will be waived for all Fest volunteers.
For more information, visit the event website at getoutfest.com.