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Editor's note: The event was rescheduled to May 19, owing to weather.

When Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis closed last year, the popular gear retailer's biannual outdoors expos disappeared with it.

Much like the Northwest Sportshow and related gatherings, the events were circled on the calendars of Minnesotans — rites of spring and autumn. Visitors turned out to connect over, among other things, gear or stories of wild adventure and backcountry skills, and even to get educated on conservation-minded volunteer needs and opportunities.

The Great Gear-Up & Gather on Sunday doesn't aim to replace a signature Midwest Mountaineering happening, but the new gathering will claim its spirit.

"The [expo] was just such a connector for outdoors communities that often can feel siloed unless there are dedicated people bringing them together," said Amber Lynum of Paddle Bridge. The Mississippi River kayak tour guide service has partnered with St. Paul Brewing to put on the Great Gear-Up & Gather. It happens from noon to 5 p.m. in the main courtyard parking area of the brewery, on the site of the original Hamm's keg house.

A flea market vibe is part of the expectation Sunday, Lynum said, encouraging the public to come to sell small quantities of any form of new or gently used gear at one of the event's community tables. People also can opt for trunk sales and must register a vehicle. (Go to The Great Gear-Up & Gather Event.)

Also planned is a paddle craft auction, at about 4 p.m., something Midwest Mountaineering veterans can appreciate. Lynum said auction participants can show up with canoes, paddleboards, kayaks or rafts. (Send auction questions to

Lynum said she admired how the outdoor expo exposed visitors to new topics and their advocates. Sunday's event, then, is a natural move for Paddle Bridge, she added, whose mission is to break some barriers to recreating on the Mississippi River.

Other partners for the Great Gear-Up & Gather are Friends of the Mississippi River; Patagonia St. Paul; paddle-makers Bending Branches and Aqua Bound; Natalie Warren, adventurer and author of "Hudson Bay Bound," and various outdoor meetup groups and outfitters. Even Midwest Mountaineering's paddlesports auctioneers will be on hand.

However the newcomer plays out, Lynum said the emphasis is on community — a space to come and connect, buy or sell or swap gear, and perhaps share a beer along the way.

"We have no desire to replicate all of the wonderful things Midwest did around the expo," she said.