DockDogs Competition, Family Fishing Event, Firefighters Challenge & Hands-on Outdoor Activities Highlight 5th Step Outdoors Festival at SteelStacks June 1-2

Photo by Craig Roberts

Festival, presented by St. Luke’s University Health Network, includes outdoors-focused activities and presentations by 25 different groups

BETHLEHEM, PA—The return of the high-flying Keystone DockDogs competition, a new kids’ firefighters challenge and a family fishing event on Saturday highlight the many events and hands-on activities designed to immerse kids in the wonders of the great outdoors during the fifth Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley festival presented by St Luke’s University Health Network at SteelStacks June 1-2. The festival, which is free to attend, includes two days of presentations, hands-on activities and educational experiences designed to encourage children and families to get outdoors, as well as learn about the many wildlife, outdoors and conservation-focused groups working in the region.

At Step Outdoors, children enjoy presentations and activities by more than 25 local and state groups. Activities include archery, biking, gardening, art & nature activities, hiking, nature photography, bluebird box building, laser sporting clays and more. Throughout the weekend, organizations like Hawk Mountain and Wildlands Conservancy also offer presentations featuring live wildlife.

“St. Luke’s, committed to promoting Fit For Life healthy eating and exercise programs, is proud to sponsor the Step Outdoors festival,” says Kenneth Szydlow, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of St. Luke’s University Health Network. “Festival activities feature healthy alternatives to screen time, activities which help prevent obesity, diabetes and other serious health issues.”

The 2019 DockDogs competition, which takes place June 1, 8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., and June 2, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., features athletic canines performing high-flying feats as they leap into a 40-foot swimming pool set up on SteelStacks’ Air Products Town Square. During the competition, dogs go paw to paw as they compete in categories designed to showcase the highest leap, longest jump and quickest retrieve.

New at Step Outdoors on Saturday are a Family Fishing Program offered by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, as well as a Kids Firefighter Challenge presented by Kistler O’Brien Fire Protection. The fishing event, which takes place 9 a.m.-noon along the Lehigh Canal on Sand Island, is designed for families with little or no fishing experience. During the event, PFBC staff teach participants basic fishing skills, culminating with the chance to angle for bass, panfish and trout on Lehigh Canal. The free program is open to ages 5 and older, with all equipment provided. Anyone interested in taking part can register at

Also back are Ah-Ha! Arts Management’s popular artisan show featuring more than 20 natured-themed artists and Your First Mud Run, the family-friendly obstacle course that drew more than 300 participants in 2018.

At Your First Mud Run – the only mud run designed for kids and parents alike – participants navigate a fun and challenging course that features as many as 10 obstacles including a 6-foot-high climbing wall, heavy jump ropes, mud pit, cargo net and even a secret obstacle. The run is ideal for families, with children as young as age 5 able to take part. Entry fee for the event, which takes place June 2, 10 a.m., is $42 in advance and $60 day of the event. Registrations can be done at; both individuals and teams can enter.

Other Step Outdoors highlights include:

– Falconers Sean and Margaret Young with their red-tailed hawk and American kestrel
– NEW Four-course Beer Dinner June 1, 6:30 p.m., featuring Seven Sirens Brewing (tickets on sale at
– NEW activities like pinecone birdfeeder making, macro-invertebrate identification, sunflower seed plantings and axe throwing
– Wildlands Conservancy offering a Camping 101 experience where attendees can learn about tent setup, campsite selection, water filtration and more
– Appalachian Mountain Club offering urban hikes on the South Bethlehem Greenway 10 a.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday

Families looking for unique experiences that tie art to the outdoors will want to check out the Banana Factory Arts Center’s station, where kids can make colorful bird feeders or mini 3D woven turtles.

Partners helping to support the Step Outdoors festival presented by St. Luke’s University Health Network include Ah-Ha! Arts Management, Aqua-Duck, Coca-Cola Bottling of the Lehigh Valley, Kistler O’Brien Fire Protection, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, PSECU and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications. For more information on the festival, visit