When you hear the words FILM FESTIVAL, what comes to mind? Dark, quiet screening rooms?

Well we’ve got those, for sure, but the Real to Reel Film Festival is about so much more than staying INDOORS, because Real to Reel is all about the GREAT OUTDOORS.

If you’re looking to stretch your legs and get in a little cardio between films, then join us Saturday, March 28 at 11:30 AM for our Adventure Climb up Baldy, sponsored by the Mt. Baldhead Challenge.

302 steps straight up the slope of this stable sand dune take you to the top of our town where sweeping scenic views of the twin hamlets of Saugatuck and Douglas and the Lake Michigan coastline await. Oh yeah, and there’ll be hot cocoa to sweeten your spirit.

So that’s it? Heck no! Joining us on this hike will be Will Robinson, famed thru-hiker and the first African-American male to complete the Triple Crown of Hiking (Appalachian, Pacific Coast, Continental Divide). He is also the focus of Real to Reel film Akuna, which plays Saturday afternoon at the Woman’s Club as part of the Indomitable Spirit playlist.

Robinson will be on hand to discuss the transformative power of hiking he has experienced. Plagued by PTSD and in need of a positive change upon returning from his service in Iraq, Robinson set out on the Pacific Coast Trail in 2016 with no prior experience. What he found was a journey, a lifestyle and a community that changed his life.

Outdoor outfitters Merrell will be on hand featuring some of their gear, including their signature hiking shoes, and Erica Lang from Woosah Outfitters will be creating some one-of-a-kind artwork, Saugatuck’s own Pennyroyal Cafe and Provisions will be on hand selling boxed lunches. Finally, as a treat, the Natural Resources & Outdoor Studies program at Careerline Tech Center will be designing a custom patch for all participants! Limited to the first 100 participants.

Before you head on up Baldy, make sure you stop by the pre-registration booth for the Mt. Baldhead Challenge. This “Ultimate All-Terrain Race” takes runners on a 12- or 7.5-mile jaunt through our unique community, both featuring a rewarding push-up Baldy’s steps. While we may be months out from the September running, it is never too early to secure your spot for this popular race.

Of course, what goes up must come down. Once you’re done taking in the views atop old Baldy, hit the trail for a hike out to Oval Beach. The selected path winds through the coastal forest and dune grass before letting you out on our civic shore. Trolleys from the Saugatuck-Douglas Interurban Service will be waiting to take you back to the parking area.

Real to Reel Film Festival is West Michigan’s premiere film festival centered around humanity’s connection to the outdoors. Featuring films from Mountainfilm on Tour alongside events, discussions, parties and live music, Real to Reel offers contemplative, inspiring and entertaining perspectives on a variety of topics. For a full list of events, go to realtoreel.sc4a.org and to get your tickets, head to www.realtoreel.sc4a.org/tickets/

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