ERWIN, Tenn. (WJHL)- Downtown Erwin held its annual Outdoors Festival on Saturday. The event aims to welcome hikers that are passing through the town on the Appalachian Trail.

Co-Owner of Blue Ridge Paddling Brandon Schmidt told News Channel 11 about the importance of this town’s tradition.

“They’re all coming through the trail right now,” said Schmidt. “It’s a great way for us to welcome them with open arms.”

Hikers on the Appalachian Trail have been traveling for months before they come to Erwin.

“They start in North Georgia and they go all the way up to Maine,” said Schmidt. “Right now they’re coming right through Erwin, so that’s really cool to be a part of that and to be here and to support them.”

Blue Ridge Paddling was just one of many vendors there educating the community about the great outdoors.

“People that are interested in outdoor recreation can come to this festival,” said Schmidt. “They can speak with us and all the other vendors about all the activities we have here, which is paddling, biking, fishing, all of it.”

Clayton Berry with Trout Unlimited had a booth set up to educate people about the importance of keeping nature clean, especially when litter pollutes the rivers and streams where trout fish breed.

“We need to let the public know when they throw trash out if it gets in the water and then it pollutes the atmosphere,” said Berry. “Also the temperature of the water can get really low and they (trout fish) have to have like 70-degree water or cooler in order to survive.”

Trout Unlimited teaches the community about conservation.

“We have several projects that we do every year,” said Berry. “As far as cleanups on the rivers, streams, picking up trash that sort of thing, to take care of the outdoors, to keep it good for everybody.”

Berry said events like the Outdoor Festival are important for teaching younger kids about keeping the earth clean so that animals and the community can enjoy the scenic areas that Erwin has to offer.