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Win $100 When You Shop

Summer’s here and the time is right for you to check out women’s new arrivals! Over the past several seasons, top players in the outdoor apparel market have spent time into specifically designing clothing, gear, packs, PFDs, and hiking boots to better fit women’s bodies. Gone are the days of just shrinking the size of something and pretending it addresses the needs of females in the outdoors.

We’re very excited about the apparel collection we’ve curated for the summer, so we’re offering am incentive to try it out. For every women’s clothing or clothing accessory item you purchase by July 5, you’ll be entered to win a gift card. We’ll give away three: $100, $50, and $25. This includes hundreds of items from Prana, Marmot, Patagonia, and more.

You can start by heading to our store in South Asheville’s Parkway Center (1378 Hendersonville Road, across from Carolina Day School) or browsing online. You can even hold items online and pick them up at the store. Our expert team is ready to show off our new arrivals and get you outdoors because Adventure Is Local!

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Soar Above the Green River Gorge

We hear people like free stuff so we’re giving away more of it this year! Make sure you’re signed up for our super duper fly emails to make sure you don’t miss any contests. This month, we’ve got an awesome package from two western North Carolina Originals: The Gorge and WNCW.

Touted as “America’s steepest, fastest” zipline canopy tour, The Gorge offers 11 lines spanning over one mile that descend 1,100 vertical feet for a wild ride. It’s a great view of North Carolina’s Green River Gorge, high above the treetops. Like Diamond Brand Outdoors, The Gorge was voted Best of the Blue Ridge by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors.

You’ll also receive of a pair of WNCW Gear Packages: an insulated string bag, handmade mug, and earbuds!

On Oct. 13, 1989, radio station WNCW, whose call letters stand for Western North Carolina Window, first signed on the air as a a public radio station “for everyone.” Since that time, the station has become synonymous with the region it covers, programming a variety of music — folk, blues, jazz, reggae, Celtic, world, rock, bluegrass, indie — and local and National Public Radio affiliated news. It provides distinctive programming that transcends cultural, educational, or socioeconomic differences.

 

 

5 Summer Things to Do in Western North Carolina

Our little corner of the world offers amazing access to the outdoors, music and art, picturesque mountain main streets, and the best friends and neighbors anyone could ask for. While you may be headed to the beach or out of town for a summer vacation, there’s plenty of local adventure to occupy a weekend or an afternoon in Asheville and Western North Carolina. Grab your kayak, lace up the hiking boots, and make your summer bucket list.

May

While May technically falls within spring, Downtown After 5 serves as an unofficial start to summer in the city. Celebrating its 29th year, this monthly concert series from the Asheville Downtown Association began as a way to draw locals into a largely abandoned city center in the late 1980s. The first DA5 concert featured a Mardi Gras theme and, in a nod to that history, the May 19 concert features dynamic New Orleans funk and RnB band the High & Mighty Brass Band and local opening the Josh Phillips Big Brass Band. Why not make a day of it and explore the city’s history on the Asheville Urban Trail, stopping at galleries and public houses along the way?

June

Summer officially arrives on June 21. What better way to celebrate than by participating in the Great American Campout? The National Wildlife Federation has tools that can help you host a public campout in your neighborhood or community. Buncombe County Recreation Services is planning a June 24 campout in Lake Julian Park with guided hikes, stargazing, morning yoga, s’mores, and campfire stories. Even if you don’t take a pledge to join the GAC, heading out with a group of friends is a great way to unwind and reconnect. Lake James State Park is just under an hour away from Asheville and offers scenic vistas of the Appalachian Mountain range, hiking, boating, biking, and hot showers.

Courtesy of RomanticAsheville.com

July

Thru-hiking for months on end is out of reach for many of us. Luckily, the Appalachian Trail offers plenty of shorter hikes that offer the same experience. Art Loeb Trail is just west of Asheville. This 30-mile-long footpath is a highlight reel of the Southern Appalachians with rhododendron tunnels, waterfalls, swimming holes, 360-degree views, and much more. There are plenty of spots to set up camp – or pick a spot in one of the shelters. Three to four days offers ample opportunity for side trips off the main trail. You can also beat the July heat with a stop at Sliding Rock on the way back.

August

Parts of WNC are uniquely positioned to witness the contiguous United States’ first total solar eclipse in 38 years on August 21. Graham, Macon, Swain, Jackson and Transylvania counties are a handful of places in the world that will be plunged into total darkness as the Earth, moon, and sun line up so that the moon completely obscures the sun for about two minutes. Mountain towns are bracing for ten times the number of guests as usual and Clingman’s Dome is hosting a special ticketed viewing, so it’s best to reserve a campsite or cabin as early as possible. Depending on where you end up watching the eclipse, it’s a perfect chance to explore towns like Murphy, Cherokee, or Brevard. Events are also planned at UNC Asheville and in Pack Square Park, but Asheville will only see a 99% eclipse.

September

Just as summer begins with a festival, it comes to an end with the Asheville Outdoor Show on September 17. Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker host outdoor experts and leaders at this annual event that showcases everything new in hiking, camping, kayaking, outdoor clothing, and technology. With workshops, music, and the chance to chat with representatives from top brands like Patagonia, Prana, Mountain Hardwear, and Kelty, it’s a reminder that even as fall comes to the mountains, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors in comfort and style with your favorite folks.

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Win a Pair of La Sportiva Shoes

2017 is the year of giveaways! We’re giving away awesome prizes every month and May’s giveaway is no exception.

La Sportiva was founded in 1928 by Narciso Delladio in Italy. He started his business by manufacturing boots and clogs for farmers and lumberjacks. In World War II, he helped to provide Italy’s soldiers with custom mountaineering boots. In the 1950s, he began to make ski boots and first introduced the brand name of La Sportiva.

Everyday, the mountains surround the people who handcraft La Sportiva’s innovative products. Being mountain based and family run allows them to draw on eight decades of experience handed down through the generations. With this heritage, they can focus on the future and meld new technologies, ideas and innovation with a rich knowledge of manufacturing to give you the most amazing products on the market. Products that let you go where you dream to go, do what you dream to do and live how you want to live.

Enter to win a pair of La Sportiva trail or running shoes before May 25.

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WNC Trail Triple Crown Challenge

April is Hiking Month at Diamond Brand Outdoors, and we want you to hike, run, bike, and explore the outdoors! We’ve partnered with our friends at Asheville Trails for the WNC Trail Triple Crown Challenge.

Visit any Diamond Brand Outdoors or Frugal Backpacker location to check out the awesome new Asheville Trails kiosks with dozens of local trails. We believe the outdoors are for everyone of all abilities, so you’ll find lots of good stuff at the kiosk, like directions and insider tips on easy, moderate, and difficult hikes of varying distance. Find a trail you like, and then snap a picture of the info sheet with your phone. And then visit the Asheville Trails website to get driving directions and more trail info.

Hit any three trails from the displays during April and we’ll give you 20% off up to five items, plus a free Asheville Trails sticker! Just post a pic to Instagram while you’re on the trail, tag both @diamondbrand_outdoors and @ashevilletrails, and use the hashtag #WNC3C.

Once you’ve hiked three of the trails, return to any Diamond Brand Outdoors or Frugal Backpacker location to receive your discount. A team member will take a look a look at your tagged photos — which we’d probably like to share on our feed if you give us permission!

Discount cannot be used for gift cards, boats, or special orders. See store for any other exclusions.

Workshops, Hikes, + Demos Announced for Campapalooza

Campapalooza returns to our flagship store on March 18 from 10:00-4:00, offering the opportunity to explore the latest trends in camping, upgrade your personal camping collection, and learn from outdoor experts. It’s a way for us to celebrate our history as the region’s first outdoor store and thank you for being great friends and neighbors for 53 years.

This year, we’ve assembled an amazing schedule of free outdoor education. Drop in for as many classes as you like. Get hands on with our top picks for camping in 2017 between sessions and enter raffles for prizes from Osprey, Marmot, ENO, Chaco, Hydro Flask, and more.

Outdoor Education
Learning about the outdoors is fun — and rewarding! Join these experts for a short presentation and you’ll be entered to win some serious prizes. There will also be plenty of time for Q&A.

  • 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Test Drive Salewa Footwear 
    Salewa is a family owned mountain brand that has been in business for over 80 years. Focusing on high quality, durable technical footwear perfect for a trip up Mt. Mitchell or kicking it around Asheville, this is the perfect chance to test drive a pair of trail shoes or hiking boots. Kurt Smith will use his knowledge to select a pair that’s right for you. Take them for a run or a walk on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail anytime throughout Campapalooza.
  • 10:30 a.m., Hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
    Join Marmot‘s Stephanie Whitaker for a 30-minute morning hike along the portion of the MST that runs alongside our store and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a great chance to identify native flora and fauna while sticking close to all the Campapalooza fun.
    Giveaway: Stanley Steel Growler Pack
  • 11:30 a.m., Choosing the Right Hiking Shoe
    Oboz Footwear Expert Alex Cavner travels the southeast with one goal: matchmaking hikers with the perfect fit. Though there seems to be a dizzying array of choices, his process can easily drill down to correct type and fit, leaving you free to worry about style and color.
    Giveaways: Oboz shirts, hats, and samples
  • Noon, Presentation of Grants to Local Organizations
    We’re local and we like to support local groups connecting youth to the outdoors. Call it civic pride or mountain spirit, but we think it’s the right thing to do. We’re presenting $12,000 in awards to Asheville GreenWorks, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, River Link, and The North Carolina Arboretum.
  • 12:30 p.m., Meet Shelly the Eastern Box Turtle + Friends
    Did you know the Eastern box turtle is our state reptile? Did you know that these turtles can live to be 100 years old? Jonathan Marchal will introduce Shelly, The North Carolina Arboretum’s “celebriturtle” and learn about how you can help she and other turtles that call Western North Carolina home.
    Giveaways: KEEN Arroyo II keychains for everyone
  • 12:30 p.m., Bamboo You: New Trends in Clothing
    Free Fly spent over two years developing their unique bamboo fabric blends to create apparel made from an ultra-soft performance fabric that is breathable, provides UV protection, wicks moisture, and is naturally odor resistant. Jeff Weathersbee will run through the effort to make durable clothing from one of nature’s most sustainable resources.
    Giveaway: Free Fly clothing
  • 1:30 p.m., Solar Power Your Adventure
    Goal Zero‘s line of portable solar products allows you to charge almost anything while exploring the outdoors: phones, laptops, lights, refrigerators, and more. Ultra lightweight and portable, Crandall Caughman will run through the technology that powers the weather-resistant solar panels of the next generation of outdoor products.
    Giveaway: Goal Zero charger
  • 2:00 p.m., Picking the Right Pack
    Osprey backpacking expert Will Pfister knows a poor fitting pack can be the difference between a great time and a terrible time outdoors. He believes in making the right relationship between pack and its wearer. He’ll run through the basics of picking the correct pack for any adventure.
    Giveaway: Osprey
  • 2:30 p.m., Hiking on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
    Sponsored by Outdoor Research, one of our expert team members will lead a 30 minute hike on section of the MST different from the morning hike. Different times of the day bring out different vantage points so you may want to do both!
    Giveaway: $150 Outdoor Research gift card

Let us know you’re coming to Campapalooza with an RSVP on Facebook.

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Asheville GreenWorks Receives Columbia/Grassroots Belay Grant

We’re excited to announce our support of Asheville GreenWorks‘ Youth Environmental Leadership Program (YELP) with a grant for $6,000 through a partnership with Columbia Sportswear and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Connecting teens with their local environment ensures the next generation in our community is active, engaged, and productive. It also reinforces the role of mountains, streams, and trails as accessible to all.

An award ceremony will take place on March 18 at noon during Campapalooza at our flagship store on 1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville. We’ll also present awards to three other nonprofit organizations providing high-quality outdoor experiences for local youth.

YELP engages young adults ages 16-19 living in low-income neighborhoods in work experiences that emphasize the importance of caring for our natural environment. Through partnerships with the National Park Service and the US Forest Service, interns work alongside rangers and research scientists on issues such as climate change, reforestation, and wildlife conservation in our national parks and forests. The paid interns take several trips to national parks and forests during their internship to conduct research and learn more about the natural environment firsthand.

Additionally, interns receive leadership training through community outreach, service projects and public speaking. Last year, Asheville GreenWorks also added a focus on riparian zone restoration through invasive species removal, live staking, and storm water management. Knowledge and skills gained are unique and beneficial for school and resume building.

YELP interns also complete a 15-hour “externship” with environmental professionals from local partner organizations and businesses, learning alongside local conservation leaders while building employability skills and exploring potential career opportunities in environmental sustainability.

Diamond Brand Outdoors sponsored Asheville GreenWorks and provides additional funds as part of the Belay Grant Program. Columbia and the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance award annual grants to support local conservation and outdoor education projects across the country. Since 2012, this program has provided over $500,000 in funding and product support to projects across the U.S. nominated by Grassroots retail members.

“We’re proud to support local outdoor conservation and education projects through the Belay Grant Program,” said Scott Welch, Global Corporate Relations Manager at Columbia Sportswear Company. “Collaborating with the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and Diamond Brand Outdoors allows us to identify projects and organizations that best serve the community.”

In addition to sponsorship funds, the grant includes tools, planting materials, a kayak and supplies, and innovative outdoor products from Columbia including quick drying shorts or pants, boots or water shoes, and wicking socks or sun hat.

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Ways to Explore the Outdoors in Asheville in March

March equinox brings spring to the mountains on March 20. The month is named for Mars, the Roman god of war who was also regarded as a guardian of agriculture. His month Martius was the beginning of the season for both farming and warfare, and the festivals held in his honor during the month were mirrored by others in October, when the season for these came to a close. As winter comes to an end, March is seen by many as a month to celebrate rebirth, rejuvenations, and regrowth.

Here are some picks for getting outside during the first month of springtime. Visit the experts at Diamond Brand Outdoors to make sure you’ve got all the right gear and outdoor clothing before heading out!

Kolo Bike Park
Opens for the season on March 4, Prices vary
Part of the Adventure Center of Asheville, this experience includes miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails and features — including wooden and dirt jumps, 180 degree wood berm, and wooden bridges — in a wooded, rolling terrain. It’s adult and kid’s pump track make it a sort of mountain bike sampler pack. There are multiple ways to ride Kolo’s trails depending on your skill level whether you’re just learning, taking it easy, or looking to push your edge a bit. Bring your own bike or rent one on site.
1 Resort Drive in Asheville

Spring Hiking 101
6pm-7pm on March 9, Free
With the arrival of spring, the ground thaws, flowers begin to blossom, and nature is jumps back to life. With trails that weave through multiple waterfalls, provide ample bird-watching opportunities, and lead to epic vistas, there’s no better time to explore WNC’s terrain than the temperate days of spring. Frugal Backpacker‘s experts will review essential items you should take with you while hiking in the Asheville area and share their favorite spring hikes.
52 Westgate Parkway in Asheville

Campapalooza
10am-4pm on March 18, Free
Spring camping season gets an early start with a preview of 2017’s best reviewed gear from international innovators like Kelty, Marmot, and Oboz, as well as locally based makers like ENO, Astral, and LiquidLogic. Free hourly workshops on topics from festival camping to choosing the right backpack for a thru hike to getting started to hiking are joined by giveaways and the presentation of grants to local environmental nonprofits. It’s our way of celebrating Diamond Brand Outdoors’ history as WNC’s first and oldest outdoor store — and thanking our customers for their support!
1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville

Get in Gear Fest
Noon-5pm on March 18, Free
26 WNC Gear Builders will be demoing their newest equipment on the banks of the French Broad River at Salvage Station. From a slingshot shooting range and 1:1 guided outdoor experiences to unique events to test outdoor skills and outdoor gear collaboration beers and ciders, it’s no joke that this festival is called Get in Gear. Diamond Brand Outdoors’ paddle experts will be hosting paddlesports demos on the river at 1:00, 2:15, and 3:30 in the afternoon.
468 Riverside Drive in Asheville

Mountains-to-Sea Trail Bird Walk
8am-10am on March 25, Free
Have you ever wanted to get to know the birds that you see and hear around you? Join international birdwatching guide Kevin Burke for an moderate hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. You’ll look for typical winter species, such as Carolina Chickadee, Hermit Thrush, Golden, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, as well as early spring migrants like Northern Parula, Blue-headed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, and Wood Thrush.
1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville

Asheville Orchid Festival
9am-5pm on March 25 & 26
$5 per person, Free ages 12 and under (standard parking fees apply)
The Western North Carolina Orchid Society hosts its 19th annual ode to the excitement and joy of cultivating orchids inside The North Carolina Arboretum’s Education Center. World-class orchid growers and breeders, along with regional orchid societies, will exhibit hundreds of orchids presented in carefully crafted displays. Orchids will be for sale by vendors from Taiwan, Ecuador, and across the United States.

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$6,000 for Local Youth Environmental Education

We believe the outdoors are for everyone. That’s why we teamed up with Patagonia to award $6,000 to area programs that support environmental and stewardship education for local kids and teens. You helped us by voting in the Winter of Love poll for your favorite organizations and — wow! — 5,147 votes later, we’re happy to announce the winners.
 The North Carolina Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE takes the top spot with 2,513 votes. ecoEXPLORE is an incentive-driven program that engages K-8 students in guided and self-directed citizen science activities. Students engage as active participants as they record observations of organisms found in their neighborhoods, libraries, and at the Arboretum. They’ll receive a check for $2,500 and a $500 gift card.

Finishing a very close second is RiverLink with 2,276 votes. RiverLink delivers K-12 watershed education at no cost to schools within the French Broad River Watershed. Through hands-on and fun experiences, students leave lessons with the knowledge and skills to care for their watershed. We’re sending them a check for $1,500 and a $250 gift card.

In third, The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching environmental stewardship, job and life skills, leadership, community service, and personal responsibility. They’ll receive a check for $1,000 and a $250 gift card to support their work.

Since opening WNC’s original outdoor store in 1964, community support has been an important tenant of our success and one of our guiding principals. Join us on March 18 at our store on 1378 Hendersonville Road for Campapalooza, a celebration of our history and a showcase of 2017’s hottest gear. We’ll have giveaways, package discounts, one-day-only deals, outdoor education from some of the best in the business, and more. We’ll also present checks to the local organizations listed above and others.

Everyone who cast a vote was also entered to win a $100 gift card to Diamond Brand Outdoors. Congratulations to Wayne S. of Asheville!

We’re blown away by the response. It’s great to be part of a community dedicated to making sure the next generation of adventurers are developed through the ability to get outdoors and run, jump, play, and explore! #AdventureIsLocal

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Resolve to Get Outdoors in 2017

New Years Asheville OutdoorsThe turn of the year means 2016 is in the books—and for many of us, it can’t come a moment too soon. The end of a year usually brings a time of self-reflection, a time to get our priorities in line and make a plan for improvement. That seems especially important this year.

The top New Year’s resolutions remain largely unchanged year after year: stay fit and healthy, lose weight, and enjoy life to the fullest. If the goals on your list look similar, scratch them out and replace them with one enjoyable item: get outdoors!

These days, the average American spends 93% of their life inside, 87% in buildings and 6% in vehicles. Spending just 20 more minutes outside each day is long enough to provide a cleaning of the mental windshield to recover from everyday life.

You might be thinking, “This sounds great, but I went camping once and hated it.” Luckily, there are countless ways to get outdoors that don’t include pitching a tent—although that can be pretty great, too! If you’re already an outdoors maestro, introduce newbie friends and family to your favorite outdoor activities.

Take a Hike

Asheville Hiking Outdoors Western North Carolina MountainsOn a tree-lined street, your closest park or greenway, or one of the many trails a few minutes outside of town, hiking is great because it doesn’t require a lot of special equipment. A good pair of hiking shoes from your local outdoors store is good enough to start. As you graduate to more moderate trails, trekking poles can come in handy. The North Carolina Arboretum is a beautiful choice this time of year with lots of parking and trails of all levels.

Train for a Big Event

Running Asheville Big Event Western North Carolina OutdoorsWhether you’re a runner, biker, or hiker (or want to be one), having a specific challenge in mind will give you structure and motivation. If you’re already running a few times a week, but want to warm up your winter right away, the Asheville Hot Chocolate 10K is January 21. For beginners and those just getting back into the game, the Race to the Taps series kicks off on March 18. Followed by three additional races in April, September, and October, you’ll be able to trace your improvement through the year.

Find Inspiration

Outdoors Volunteering Asheville Mountains WNCShare your skills, meet new people, and make a difference by volunteering with organizations like MountainTrue, The North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville Greenworks, Carolina Mountain Club, The Pisgah Conservancy, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Muddy Sneakers, Friends of the Smokies, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, North Carolina Outward Bound School, RiverLink, and…you get the idea?!? There are many ways to volunteer with great local organizations. With the amount of projects available, you can volunteer when your schedule permits, create a custom outing, or join a group event. Local stores like Diamond Brand Outdoors often host information sessions with these groups, making getting involved even easier.

These are a few ways you get outdoors more in 2017 right away. You can also simply visit a new neck of the woods or take a date night outside. As it warms up, maybe join an outdoor sports league or try your hand at kayak fishing. Making time for yourself to do what you love in the places you love to do them will reconnect you with the world and make you happy.

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Events

Asheville Outdoor Show 2017

The Asheville Outdoor Show brings the finest outdoor brands and latest trends in recreation directly to our friends and neighbors who live in the outdoor playground of the mountains of North Carolina. We’ll showcase innovators known for quality, variety, and uniqueness. Enjoy music and outdoor games throughout the day — and pick up lots of discounts from your favorite brands for your outdoor lifestyle.

This kick-ass event is free, family-friendly, and open to the public!

RSVP on Facebook

 

Lake Julian Demo Day

We’re hitting Shelter #1 at Lake Julian Park once again with our entire fleet of fishing, whitewater, and recreational kayaks and stand up paddlebaords. Bring your friends for some time on the water as you test drive 2017’s best of the best. You’ll also have a chance to chat with our experts about paddles, boating accessories, and the best spots in the region to get on the water this year.

RSVP on Facebook

We’ll have PFDs for kids and adults, but you’ll move through the line much quicker if you show up with your own. Same goes with liability waivers. Our lawyers say you’ve got to sign one, so why not print it before arrival? Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2oJqd6s

Expect boats from Confluence Kayaks, Hurricane Kayaks, Liquidlogic Kayaks, Native Watercraft, NRS, and Wilderness Systems Kayaks.

This free event is made possible by a partnership with our friends at Buncombe County Recreation Services. Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome. #AdventureIsLocal

Lake Julian Demo Day

We’re hitting Shelter #1 at Lake Julian Park once again with our entire fleet of fishing, whitewater, and recreational kayaks and stand up paddlebaords. Bring your friends for some time on the water as you test drive 2017’s best of the best. You’ll also have a chance to chat with our experts about paddles, boating accessories, and the best spots in the region to get on the water this year.

RSVP on Facebook

We’ll have PFDs for kids and adults, but you’ll move through the line much quicker if you show up with your own. Same goes with liability waivers. Our lawyers say you’ve got to sign one, so why not print it before arrival? Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2oJqd6s

Expect boats from Confluence Kayaks, Hurricane Kayaks, Liquidlogic Kayaks, Native Watercraft, NRS, and Wilderness Systems Kayaks.

This free event is made possible by a partnership with our friends at Buncombe County Recreation Services. Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome. #AdventureIsLocal

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue Adoption Day

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a No Kill organization. In addition to offering free spay/neuter assistance and a pet food pantry to the community, BWAR runs a 10,000 square foot adoption center, provides behavioral counseling, runs a popular dog hiking club, and is expanding an animal sanctuary.

BWAR volunteers and companion animals will be at the store on Saturday, July 8. Stop by to meet these adorable dogs and cats — and find out how you can provide a loving home.

RSVP on Facebook

This free event is open to the public. Well-behaved kids and pets with owner on leash are welcome.