Willits is in transformation. Long standing industries have moved on, a new freeway bypass has literally reshaped the Little Lake Valley, and there isn’t a clear direction of what’s next. However, there’s an on-going discussion that’s addressing our collective future.

Visit Willits is one of the results of this conversation. This is a group of local people who have come together to create experiences in Willits. The intent is to attract visitors, tourists, and locals to come and enjoy the uniqueness of our community.

On Saturday, October 20, 2018 the new non-profit will host the Wild Willits Fest: Explore Our Roots. The event is unlike any other. It embodies all that Northern California is about: small town vibes with great food, music, and activities for every age. The event will include a 5k walk/run, 10k and a half-marathon race, live music, local food vendors, food competition featuring local chefs and caterers, kids’ activity zone, artisan market, wellness vendors, and events happening around Willits all weekend.

The event kicks off in the morning from Recreation Grove with the course winding through the Valley. Runners and walkers will be in touch with the land with every step they take and can expect Mother Nature to show off her brilliant fall colors and smells. Along the route, markers will point out various points of interests and unique activities.

The event represents an opportunity to focus on individual physical fitness while coming together to re-connect during this transition with our common denominator, the beauty and bounty of the Little Lake Valley.

See local farms and ranches. Meet a farmer. Take part in a Pomo dance. Experience the flora and fauna of the Little Lake Valley. And return to a festival of local food, art, and wellness.

Post run/walk, the Rec Grove will be alive with live music, delicious local food, artist booths, activities for kids, booths featuring body workers, masseuses, herbalists, nutritionists, and performance experts to help runners and non-runners achieve optimal body wellness.

Get in touch with the land by running or walking, smelling, and feeling it. Nourish yourself with food and herbs grown from it. And connect with local wellness experts to get in sync with your own body.

And yes, although this is not another booze fest, there will be a beer garden featuring Mendocino County breweries and wineries as another way for guests to enjoy the bounty of the season.

The public is welcome to attend the next planning meeting which is on Wednesday, August 1 at 4 pm in the Willits City Council Chambers at 111 E. Commercial St. Come help co-create the experience and find out how to sponsor, vend, or participate further.

For more information and to register to walk or run visit WildWillitsFest.com and look for us on Facebook and Instagram.

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