HARRISONBURG — Wipe your boots at the door and dust off that trail dirt. Walkabout Outfitters, traditionally a spot to snag gear before a hike, is taking a different route tonight and serving traditional South Asian flavors and hosting a fashion show.
Sherpa Adventure Gear is a brand sold at the retailer that employs over 600 Nepalese knitters to craft outdoor gear, according to its website, with a portion of proceeds going to fund educational programs for children in Nepal. Walkabout Outfitters hosts “Sherpa Nights” events to celebrate the apparel’s latest line of fashion and raise awareness for its ethical efforts.
Tina Miller, co-owner of Walkabout Outfitters, said the founder of the Sherpa brand’s wife is behind the recipes that are being served at the event.
“We have naan and then dal, which is traditional lentils soup, and then there’s chicken tarkari and then a Nepalese chicken dish along with basmati rice,” Miller said.
Cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, Yuengling Traditional Lager and Rolling Rock Extra Pale will also be available free of charge, but the retailer is requesting donations, which will go directly to the educational fund.
Ty Bommer, trade marketing manager for Sherpa, said various retailers of the brand have similar events, but Walkabout Outfitters is the first to host a fashion show of the apparel.
“We offer this to any of our dealers as just an experiential aspect to their community and also helping, you know, getting them involved with helping us raise funds for education programs,” Bommer said.
Along with the fashion show, there are traditional Nepalese garbs on display at the event for viewers to compare how the brand ties in the same color and styles into their clothes.
This is the first year Harrisonburg has hosted a Sherpa Nights, but Walkabout Outfitters began to work with Sherpa last year and celebrated the Nepalese culture in its Lexington and Valley View locations.
Vince Mier, Harrisonburg Walkabout Outfitters store manager, said he supports the event because it highlights an organization with strong morals and an important message.
“One cool thing is like about 55% of their stuff is made in Nepal, and so it’s providing jobs other than being strictly working on the mountain itself,” Mier said. “Just a really good brand with a great story.”