Dark Side Festival returns

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WENATCHEE — It’s getting to be Dark Side time.

The Dark Side Festival, an event celebrating outdoor sports in the Wenatchee Valley, will be held from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26 at Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort.

Like last year, the festival will feature evening mountain bike ride, trail run, hike, followed by live music from the Massy Ferguson band and Gavin McLaughlin, a beer garden and food. Presenting sponsor is Iron Horse Brewery.

The event is a fundraiser for the local chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and its trail building program in the Wenatchee Foothills.

“We had more than 200 people show up at the inaugural event last year, which blew our socks off,” said Steve Maher of AdventureWenatchee, which is organizing the Dark Side Festival. “People took off on a ride, run or hike at dusk and then came back for music, food and refreshments in Mission Ridge’s main lodge. It was a blast.

“People can come up for a ride, run or hike that evening, or come up just for the music and beer. The Mission Ridge area is unbelievably beautiful in late September,” Maher said.

Festival tickets cost $25 before the event (online only at http://darksidefestival.eventbrite.com) and $30 the day of the event at Mission Ridge. For the cost of admission, ticket holders get a non-timed mountain bike ride, trail run or hike on marked courses, one free beer at the beer garden, and live music. Mission Ridge also will be selling food during the festival.

Besides EMBA, Mission Ridge, Iron Horse Brewery and AdventureWenatchee, other groups and businesses involved in putting the event on include RunWenatchee, Wenatchee Valley Velo, KOHO Radio, North 40 Productions and Arlberg Sports.

“The festival is meant to celebrate what a great place the Wenatchee Valley is for outdoor sports and to raise money for continued trail improvements for mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers,” said Mat Lyons, president of EMBA’s Central Washington chapter. “The money raised will do directly back into local trails.”

The beer garden will open at 5 p.m. Sept. 26 with select craft brews from presenting sponsor Iron Horse. The hike will leave from Mission Ridge’s Hampton Lodge at 5:45 p.m., the mountain bike ride will depart at 6 p.m., and the trail run will begin at 6:10 p.m.

Gavin McLaughlin will take the stage at 8 p.m., followed by the Massy Ferguson band at 9 p.m.

Earlier in the day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., EMBA will host its annual Devil’s Fest trail building work party, also at Mission Ridge.

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