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Range of activities highlights Beaver County music festival

| Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 11:33 a.m.

For the fourth straight summer, the nonprofit Ohio River Trail Council will host its Gear & Cheer Music Festival in Bradys Run County Park in Beaver County.

Even with its relatively short history, the event, featuring a nine-hour live concert, is becoming better known and pulls in plenty of visitors from surrounding communities, council director John Orndorff said.

“I think that people are really starting to look forward to it,” Orndorff said.

This year's Gear & Cheer Music Festival will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 19, and will offer a wider range of activities than in previous years. About 1,000 people attended last year's event, and this year 10 organizers are planning for a greater turnout.

“We try to make it as family-inclusive as possible, and we try to appeal to the broadest base that we possibly can,” said Bill Sweterlitsch, a director for the trail council.

“We have various events. There's biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing tournaments for kids and cornhole tournaments. There will be arts and craft vendors, and beer vendors.”

All proceeds will go toward construction of the Ohio River Greenway Trail.

The trail council plans to begin work in 2016 on the first sections of the recreational trail, which is to have paved, well-marked bike lanes along low-speed, low-traffic roads.

The idea is to give cyclists a safe alternative to the heavily traveled Pennsylvania Bike Route A, running along Route 51.

Engineering and other planning work are underway. Phase one of the trail would extend the Montour Trail through Coraopolis, to the Sewickley Bridge in Moon.

The trail council also sought to have the Ohio River Water Trail, a paddling trail that follows parts of the Ohio River and other area waterways, named as a national recreation trail. The Department of the Interior and National Park Service approved the designation in June.

General admission to the festival is free, and this year, it offers new, free events such as yoga, paddleboard yoga and educational seminars.

The seminars will begin at 11 a.m. in the Bradys Run County Park Lodge, and will feature five guest speakers to discuss subjects that touch upon the festival's core message of enhancing well-being.

“We're trying to bring to the community all of the opportunities to become healthier, both environmentally and physically,” Orndorff said.

Other free activities include hiking, swimming, arts and crafts and a children's bike rodeo.

There will be pay events such as the 5K run/walk, cornhole tournament, road cycling tour, mountain biking, a Chinese auction and a wine and beer tasting event with brews from Vecenie Distributing and Penn Brewery, as well as offerings from the Beaver County Homebrew Association. Registration is now open and will cost $20 for each of those events.

Kevin Lohman is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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