WACO, Texas - On a chilly, overcast and rainy weekend the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Heart of Texas Regional Advisory Council teamed up for a "Get Outdoors" Sport Show and Safety Fair.
The event was held March 23 and 24 at Twin Bridges Park on Waco Lake. Approximately 850 visitors braved the weather to check out sporting and outdoors recreational activities and gear, while spending time with local public safety agencies on hand providing information and promoting safety practices.
“I thought the event was a big hit,” said Christine Reeves, HOTRAC executive director. “While the weather wasn't perfect, it was workable on Saturday. We saw approximately 750 people on Saturday and another 100 on Sunday.”
The family-oriented fair was held to promote safe family involvement in outdoor activities. The Waco Fire department had equipment on display along with the Waco Police Department K-9s. Visitors young and old were taught the proper wear of a personal floatation device.
“The event touched people from all backgrounds, we saw a wide range of ages from infant to elderly,” said Reeves.
Waco resident Jeff Brister and son, Vernon, 6 enjoyed many of the day’s scheduled activities. “This is great for kids, I hope it grows and becomes an annual event,” said the older Brister.
Parents attending were able to get their children fingerprinted and have child safety seats inspected. Youngsters were able to get some time on the lake checking out various types of kayaks and paddleboards or for the not so adventurous there were opportunities to see if the fish were biting from the shore.
A few winged friends were on hand from the Texas Hawking Association, although they did not take flight, visitors were treated to a close look at red-tailed and Harris’s hawks a Screech owl and a Peregrine falcon.
The Corps and HOTRAC have been partnering for more than a year, working together often through the Drowning Prevention Coalition partnership.
“Overall for a first time event I think it was a success,” said Elizabeth Anderson, Waco Lake park ranger. “Although the marginal weather affected the attendance, it was a worthwhile event.”