The Utah Arts Festival is a little different every year, with new artists, food vendors and layouts. This year was no exception. And as usual, the artists, food and performers at the festival did not disappoint.
Because the temperatures this last weekend repeatedly broke 100, I decided to attend the festival once things began to cool down around 8 p.m. As I expected, this was an idea that many other festival patrons also had. When I showed up to the festival it was a solid mass of people circulating around the booths and stages. It was a little intimidating at first but my friend and I jumped into the mix and were able to navigate a fairly smooth path around the festival grounds without too much pushing and shoving.
On our journey through the festival we discovered booth upon booth of beautiful and delicious things. Some favorites of mine were the various glass booths. I have always been drawn to blown glass and other glass-work pieces. This year I found three or four different artists from across the western United States that specialized in glass-work. I spent a while admiring the vases, dishes, lamps, jewelry and so much more. Aside from the glass, we saw everything from oil paintings to huge rock fountains, metal cacti and seriously impressive chalk art. The artists were more than willing to tell me more about their processes and their time in Salt Lake. This was true of all the booths that I snooped around while window shopping; the artists showed me as much appreciation for admiring as they did to those who were actually purchasing.
There were various stages scattered throughout the festival and each had a different feel. They ranged from a small jazz band stage to a full concert stage. One of the most intriguing stages on Friday night was the ‘Big Mouth’ stage, located near the city library. On this stage, ‘The Bee: True Stories from The Hive,’ a local storytelling event, was in full swing on Friday night with audience members participating. I stopped in to listen and it was a much-needed oasis in the middle of the bustling crowd. Aside from the small stage, the larger stages sporting various musical acts created a nice background track. We found an empty bench and settled in for some ice cream and prime people-watching while we listened to the music from a nearby stage.
The arts fest is one of my favorite ways to spend a summer evening in Salt Lake City. For one weekend a year, downtown truly becomes a bustling hub of all things art and culture. The festival is well worth a couple hours in the heat and the crowds. I am already looking forward to what next year has to offer.