Youths, families invited to taste outdoor sports

(Teen Challenge Monterey Bay gave lessons in stand-up paddle boarding during the annual Monterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day in 2017 at the fairgrounds. File photo by Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — The eighth annual Monterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day, a free family-oriented outdoor activity day, will take place at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Oct. 5. and 6.

The great news is, according to event coordinator Elyse Destout: It’s free.

Loads of exhibitors and sport enthusiasts will be on hand to help youths get acquainted and excited about such activities as water sports, archery, fishing classes, biking, rock climbing, health and safety, conservation, disc golf, scuba diving, kayaking, equestrian clubs, and gardening.

“Parking, admission, all the activities and shows are free,” Destout said. “The only thing with a cost is lunch, if you choose to do that. We encourage kids ages 5 to 16 years old to participate, but the event is for the whole family.”

Youth Outdoor Day founder Russel Maridon, who describes himself as an avid outdoorsman, and is a member of the Fish and Game Commission, said he drummed up the idea simply because he grew up enjoying a wealth of outdoor activities. He said he has become increasingly aware of how many youths spend so much time glued to TV and computer screens and are overweight.

Destout said that this year about 20 volunteers, many of them high school students, are pitching in to make the event happen.

“Schools are invited to come out this year on Friday,” Destout said. “This year Bike Smart with their bike rodeo and bike safety will be part of the excitement. Also, Fly Fishing of Santa Cruz with casting lessons and fly tying, the Ventana Wildlife Association, and 4-H are a few of the players that will be on hand.”

Donations from C&N Tractors, Lakeside Organic Gardens and New Families, a foster care agency, and various local farmers are key players in the event.

There are still openings for booths and last minute sign-ups, Destout said.

“We’d love to get more surf instructors out here again,” she said.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days and takes place on the lawn in front of the main stage and in front of the Arts and Crafts building at the fairgrounds. For information, visit or call Destout at 840-5547.


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