Outdoor enthusiasts gather to celebrate Vermont-made gear

Published: Apr. 2, 2023 at 12:12 AM EDT
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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - Spring is here and nature-lovers are gearing up for the season.

Our Hailey Morgan has the story of how one outdoor festival is showing people from all across our area just how fun outdoor activities can be.

The Vermont Gear Makers Festival is an annual festival that showcases Vermont-based makers of outdoor gear and apparel.

It’s hosted by Sterling College, in collaboration with several outdoor recreational businesses.

“Whether you’re a Vermont native or an outer towner they really understand the lifestyle of Vermont. Being active, living off the land. I feel that there is a big uptick. Tourists coming into the state and recreating here,” explained member of Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance Greg Manning.

The Festival had over 20 vendors looking to show people what they’re all about.

Business owners say the industry is growing in Vermont.

“I think there’s just a lot of really interesting makers that are in Vermont. I mean, everything from bags to water bottles, to sandals, to outer wear. I think it just helps showcase all the great makers that are in the state,” Said KADEN owner Chelsea Camarata.

Chelsea Camarata is the creator of KADEN Mountain Bike Apparel

She wanted to create a brand that specializes in outdoor clothing for women and says this event has helped her make lots of connections.

“I think the highlight of the event for me is just getting to meet all the other Vermont businesses. Meeting people who I have been introduced to before, or just new brands of people making new things,” explained Camarata.

Organizers say the festival attracted hundreds of people last year and this year there were even more.

They also offered free gear repair by Sterling College students in the Gear Repair Guru program, which was a huge draw for the festival.

“You need a more specialized tailor to be able to handle things that you use in the outdoors. So it can definitely be more expensive. So it’s great to have access to this free resource,” said Linden Merrill.

Students say doing this service doesn’t just help people looking to get their gear fixed, but helps the earth too.

“It keeps so much waste out of the landfills and things like that. If you use a jacket for six more months after the zipper breaks, that’s six more months that there’s much less textile waste in landfills,’’ said college student Anna Dye.