A mild winter across the southeast is ushering in the early arrival of spring, complete with blooming cherry trees, 70 degree-plus temperatures, and plenty of sunshine. Time to shed the winter coats and head to Gaston County for a spring calendar of outdoor events guaranteed to shake off the winter blahs and get the adrenaline pumping.
Jog the Belmont Abbey Campus
On Saturday, March 11, enjoy the peaceful, winding roads of the Belmont Abbey College campus while running the Belmont Rail Trail 5K. Proceeds benefit Gaston County’s Belmont Rail Trail project that will connect the college with downtown Belmont via a bicycle and pedestrian-dedicated greenway.
Run the Wicked Root
Tackle the climbs, switchbacks, roots, and rocks of George Poston Park on Saturday, March 18. The Wicked Root features 10-mile and 50K trail running routes through the hilly and notoriously technical trail system. Proceeds benefit trail expansion efforts within the park.
Shuck & Jive at York Chester Brewing
On Saturday, March 25, wash down roasted oysters with York Chester Brewing Company’s locally-sourced craft brews like Lady in Black Porter, Gentlemen Prefer Blonde Ale and a rotating series of seasonal offerings at this all-you-can-eat oyster roast. Watch the sunset and enjoy live music into the evening along the banks of the Catawba River just outside York Chester’s tap room.
Drop a Line in Lake Wylie
The American Crappie Association hosts the Crappie USA Tournament Trail on Saturday, April 1 at Lake Wylie. With the black crappie population booming in Lake Wylie, Gaston is becoming one of the top spots in the southeast for panfish anglers. Cash prizes will be offered in amateur and pro categories
Demo a MTB at Bikefest
Mountain bikers from novices to seasoned pros come together to celebrate the sport on Saturday, April 22 at Bikefest, hosted by Gaston County Parks & Recreation. George Poston Park will be ground zero for bike demos, trail rides, food trucks, and live music.
Let the Games Begin in Cramerton
On Saturday, Mary 6, the Goat Island Games, hosted by the Town of Cramerton, showcase the 30-acre park’s amenities—fishing, permanent corn hole boards and ping pong tables, playground, dog park, and disc golf course—with a day of tournaments and events. While you’re there, check out boat launches on the South Fork Catawba River and stroll across the pedestrian bridge to downtown Cramerton for a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants.
Race in Downtown Belmont
Head to downtown Belmont on Saturday, May 27, for the 10th Annual Belmont Classic 5K & Fun Run. The digitally timed race on a certified course benefits the local police department and is a perfect start to a day of exploring the unique local shops and restaurants in Belmont’s historic downtown.
Volunteer at Crowders Mountain State Park
If Crowders Mountain’s hiking, rock climbing, and camping isn’t enough to get you outside and on the trail, check out the park’s programs and events calendar for opportunities to experience Crowders in a whole new way. Celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 3, by lending a hand as part of a trail maintenance crew. You can also hone your navigational skills at an orienteering workshop scheduled for Monday, April 24.
Run With the Grizzlies
The Gastonia Grizzlies, that is. On Friday, June 9, combine a Friday evening 5K with minor league baseball and post-game fireworks at the Gastonia Grizzlies 5K. The race starts and finishes in Sims Legion Park, the Grizzlies home base in downtown Gastonia.
Savor Multisport Nirvana at the U.S. National Whitewater Center
What better place to catch spring fever than the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where they’re ramping up for the 2017 season with a full slate of festivals and events for competitors, spectators, and everyone in between.
The Green River Revival returns to the USNWC on Saturday, March 11, kicking off with the Color Me Green 5K Trail Run, followed by live music, a large selection of craft brews served at the Pump House Biergarten open-air pavilion, and casual dining at the River’s Edge Restaurant and various other concessions located on the property. After the run, watch paddlers navigate the whitewater channels, dyed bright green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Three days of outdoor competitions and live music make Tuckfest on April 21-23 a springtime must for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Biking, kayaking, SUP, trail running, and climbing competitions are scheduled all three days, along with yoga, kids’ obstacle challenges, kayak fishing, family adventure racing, and more. Gear demos and workshops in outdoor survival skills, acro yoga and other outdoor adventure activities round out the schedule of events.
Summer officially arrives with the USNWC Memorial Day Celebration beginning on Friday, May 26 and winding up on Sunday, May 28. Choose from the paddle/bike/run Dry Tri, and five-and eight-mile Memorial Day Trail Raceoptions to satisfy that competitive itch. Or take your competition vertical with the Aqua Rock Deep Water Solo Climbing Competition. Qualifying rounds and finals are scheduled throughout the holiday weekend. Live music, yoga and SUP yoga, a cornhole tournament, and fireworks fill out the packed holiday weekend schedule.
On Saturday, June 17, Brew Dash 6K trail runners can choose from competition and recreational heats run on the USNWC trail system. Following the Brew Dash, runners and spectators can hang out at the Brew Stash Bash with live music and craft beer sampling from a variety of regional and national craft breweries.
Unleash Your Inner Yogi at Daniel Stowe
On most Saturday mornings throughout the spring, you can take your yoga practice to the next level at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Surrounded by nearly 400 acres of rolling meadow and woodland along the banks of Catawba Creek and Lake Wylie, Daniel Stowe is a serene locale to start or grow your yoga practice under the guidance of seasoned yoga instructors. Beginner and advanced sessions pair well with a stroll on garden footpaths or through the orchid conservatory after class.
The days are getting longer and the temperatures are warming up. So mark your calendar, lace up your hiking boots and running shoes, and tune up your bike for a busy season of outdoor adventure in Gaston County.
Originally written for Gaston County Gov.