Calling all wilderness survival experts-in-training! The CenTex Survival Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 23. at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin.
“I absolutely cannot wait for this event,” said Amber Conrad, park ranger. “We’ll have local food and bluegrass music as we educate people about outdoor safety through awesome activities like fire-building and a geocache challenge. You can’t beat it.”
Fair-goers will have the opportunity to meet first responders responsible for outdoor emergency services and learn about their jobs by crawling through fire engines, ambulances, rescue boats and other vehicles, seeing live demonstrations and trying on rescue equipment. Walk-in Take 10 CPR trainings will be available at the fair through Austin-Travis County EMS. Activities such as archery, flint knapping, atlatl throwing, a geocache challenge and live wildlife shows will be available all day.
The fair will feature a Go Fish! youth fishing workshop where children can earn their Junior Angler Education pins while learning to tie basic knots, identify fish and get a chance to catch their first fish. Children may start the 30-minute rotating station workshop at any point during the event. There will be a fishing contest with prizes for children and adults. Because fishing is free in all state parks, anglers do not need a fishing license to participate but must register for the contest before beginning to fish.
Activities and booths will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tacos, barbeque and fresh kettle corn from local vendors, as well as general concessions and live music throughout the day. Survival hikes on a one-mile loop will last about half an hour and leave the Smith Visitor’s Center at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The CenTex Survival Fair is hosted by the park’s volunteer group, the Friends of McKinney Falls State Park. Proceeds for this event support the group’s Junior Ranger Summer Camp, an affordable outdoor day camp benefiting city youth ages 9-12 held annually at McKinney Falls. Registration for the camp begins in March on the group’s website at www.mckinneyfalls.org/.
The CenTex Survival Fair event is free and open to the public after park entrance fees. State Park Pass holders and children 12 years of age and younger are admitted without charge. McKinney Falls is located in Austin’s backyard just off U.S. 183. The park is completely within the city limits of Austin and features two natural water falls, miles of hiking and biking trails, campgrounds and the City of Austin’s Tree of the Year “Old Baldy”.