July 8, 2023 Parafestival Offsets Carbon Footprint by Reforesting Area Ravaged by Fire
Discover Soča Outdoor Festival, the annual outdoor event held in Slovenia that takes inclusion and environmental impact to new heights.
In Tolmin and its surroundings, the tenth edition of the Soča Outdoor Festival hosted by I Feel Slovenia took place between June 30 and July 2, which will go down in history as a record, as two thousand trail runners joined another 250 mountain bikers, 80 road bikers and, as part of the Parafestival, another 300 physically challenged participants.
Parafestival, the second time
Due to the excellent response, the Parafestival was also part of the event this year. Sotočje was visited by approximately 300 physically challenged people and their companions. They took part in a hike from Most na Soči to Tolmin and enjoyed various activities by and on the water. Stojan Mervič, manager of the Parafestival: “The response after last year’s Parafestival was so good that we immediately decided to continue. The number of physically challenged people who enjoyed rafting, rafting, hiking, climbing, and other activities increased even more. It’s really nice that we can hang out and that they are active according to their abilities. Boys and girls will be reminiscing for months to come.”
The first event of its kind with a zero carbon footprint
This year, the festival was designed as sustainably as possible: participants now already know that they have to bring their own cups to drink drinks at refreshment stations, that waste is separated, and that a vegan meal is also available for the competitors. This year, the organizers went one step further: upon registration, they collected voluntary contributions (one euro per participant) for the reforestation of the Karst affected by the fire.
“I’m really happy that we managed to take a step forward in the field of sustainability in every edition of the festival,” shares Jana Apih, head of sustainability at the festival, who points to the cumulative effect of many small decisions:
“This year, we ran applications entirely without printed paper, which saved approximately 14,000 sheets of paper, and instead of advertising flyers, we distributed a virtual gift bag to the participants, which they accessed via a QR code. It’s the small steps that make a big difference in the end. It makes me even happier when the participants praise us for our ideas. There are still many challenges with such a large event, but we promise to continue plowing the fallow in the field of sustainability. I can’t wait for the Soča Outdoor Festival 2024!”
Trailrunners and cyclists welcome
Runs at the Soča Outdoor Festival hosted by I Feel Slovenia are unique due to the crossing of the Tolminka river right before the finish line. As many participants said, this refreshment is often the motivation for running across the sod and sedge through the beautiful nature of the Soča Valley. The youngest children were also taken care of – they tried their hand at the 500-meter long Čokolino children’s run; they even got real starting numbers and medals.
For the first time this year, a road bicycle race was also part of the festival, which took place between Kobarid and Kolovrat a week before the main event, on June 25. 90 cyclists tried their hand at the picturesque and challenging climb, which has already hosted the legendary Giro and the Tour of Slovenia. Sunday’s 35-kilometer mountain bike race Oshee MTB Marathon, which led from Tolmin through the village of Krn and up to Pretovč mountain, was also part of the festival. 250 male and female cyclists participated in two classes (owners of electric bicycles started separately). Separately from the competitors, 30 mums, dads, and aspiring young cyclists went on a guided family cycling trip along the new cycling path along the Soča River.
About the Soča Outdoor Festival
The Soča Outdoor Festival is an annual event nestled in the picturesque beauty of Slovenia’s Soča Valley. Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers gather for a captivating celebration of outdoor sports, including kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, and more. Participants can experience the breathtaking landscapes and adrenaline-pumping activities at this unforgettable festival.
Lead Photo: Ziga Koren