Great American Backyard Campout this weekend

Brooke Beerman of REI stuffs a sleeping bag in the store’s rental room Monday afternoon. Several families have reserved free camping equipment from the store for the Great American Backyard Camp-out taking place this weekend at Canyon View Park.

The summer of 2010 is nearly halfway over and many families still haven’t found time to camp with their kids. Perhaps they’ve been too busy or just don’t own the proper equipment for a night under the stars.

The city of Grand Junction’s Parks and Recreation have teamed up with REI and the Western Slope Colorado Credit Unions to provide a free camping event the whole family can enjoy.

Beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday night, more than 200 registered families will begin setting up tents at Canyon View Park. The credit unions have donated dinner catered by Two Rivers Convention Center complete with s’mores, plus donuts for breakfast for everyone attending the event.

At dark, the movie “Open Season” will show against one of the parks buildings.

“This is just a free event that is going to be all about good family fun,” said Emily Wright, recreation supervisor for the city of Grand Junction.

REI wanted to make sure that camping would be available to everybody, even if they couldn’t afford or didn’t own camping equipment, by providing free gear from their rental closet for the event.

So far three families have reserved sleeping bags and tents for the event.

Wright said she expects at least 300 families to attend.

Preregistration would be appreciated to get a count for dinner, Wright said, but it’s not necessary.

To register, visit or call 254-3866.


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