Overland Expo EAST 2016
As I turned left onto the main entryway at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville I had no idea what to expect beyond the entry gates. Sure, I’d seen a myriad of photos of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains from the palacial estate of George Vanderbilt, built over a four-year period and completed in 1895, but really had no baseline as to what to expect upon my arrival. I pulled into the parking lot at the main entrance, alongside fellow adventurers who also had the same sense of wonder about this place we were entering, and went inside the entry building to check-in for the weekend. Now, with map in hand and detailed directions to where Overland Expo would be staged, I climbed back into my Land Cruiser and began my entry. It was Thursday afternoon and Overland Expo EAST 2016 was awaiting.
If you’ve never been to an Overland Expo event, I would liken it to a religious experience except in this case, it’s an experience for adventurous spirits to come together and share their stories, meet the companies who build and sell so many of the products used for adventure travel, and learn new skills to use on their next grand adventure. It’s a true hodge-podge for vehicle-based adventure and is one of my favorite events of the year.
Two years ago the organizers of Overland Expo came to realize the growing number of vehicle-based adventurers in the eastern United States and decided it was time to host their annual event on the east coast. Their flagship event, held annually each year in May in Arizona, is world-class with professionals who are experienced in a myriad of adventure-based fields on-site to share their experiences, tips in the field, and direct you to the huge volume of companies who attend the event to showcase the latest gear for adventure travel. For the EAST event, the last two years have been “interesting” to say the least. Poor weather and beautiful yet small venue had many of us wondering whether the EAST event would be doomed. When the decision was made to host the event at a new location, this year at the famed Biltmore Estate, many of us were curious if Mother Nature would grant us a good time or whether the elements would again be an issue.
For three days in early October, Overland Expo set the stage for a fun-packed weekend and as I manned our booth as a Title Media Sponsor of the event, alongside my mother and cousin who had joined for the trip and whom had never attended or seen anything like Expo, we shared in the joy of meeting a large volume of friendly people all of which had stories to tell and experiences I found to be quite compelling. That’s the beauty of an event like Overland Expo. It draws people from literally all corners of the globe and lands them in a setting where a shared sense of adventure brings them together regardless of their socioeconomic background.
The following images highlight the Overland Expo experience. That said, the best way to experience Overland Expo is to sign-up and attend one of the two events held annually each year. The WEST event has just been announced for 2017 and will be held during the weekend of March 12-14 at Fort Tuthill, a new venue located approximately five miles from downtown Flagstaff. With the Grand Canyon, Petrified National Forest and numerous other natural splendors throughout the surrounding area, Overland Expo is an event I highly recommend checking out. Happy adventures!
* OutdoorX4 Magazine – Promoting responsible 4×4 adventure travel and outdoor recreation