COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – For the first time since the pandemic began, Columbus Metro Parks spokesperson Jill Snyder says SciotoFest felt like normal.

The event put on for several years had to be scaled back due to COVID-19 concerns, but this year it is back. Dozens gathered in Scioto Audubon Metro Park for the event.

Over the weekend, several activities including rock climbing, food trucks, and river floating adventures were offered. A big draw to the festival though, camping. Generally, camping is very restricted in Metro Parks but on Friday night more than two dozen tents scattered on one of the yards there.

For Ohioans like Emily White, being able to escape the outdoors without leaving town was a big win.

“It gives you an option for people who don’t want to rough it, where you have to put your food in a bear box, it’s a cool intersection of city life and nature and camping,” said White, “it’s all free, so when I heard that I was like what.”

Columbus Metro Parks said it hopes to do more events like this to keep people interested in more outdoor activities.