Travels With Lea

Summer Festivals & Adventures in Utah


–The Big Showoff


Utah’s canyons and mountains are some of the most beautiful in the world. I’ve driven from Moab to Zion, and couldn’t stop gawking. Western towns, sophisticated events, clear air, Utah travel is not just for skiers.

Home to five national parks, known as The Mighty 5™, 43 state parks, seven national monuments, two national recreation areas and “The Greatest Snow on Earth®,” Utah represents the best of both the Rocky Mountains and the Desert Southwest.  Whether it’s downhill skiing, fly fishing, rock climbing,  bird watching, white water rafting or just communing with nature, Utah – holds true to the state’s Life Elevated® brand.

As temperatures heat up, Utah invites travelers to a variety of special events and festivals. With art, theater and musical productions as well as outdoor adventure and culinary indulgences, set against the stunning natural landscapes.

Beyond the following sampling, statewide summer offerings can be found at


Northern Utah

6th Annual Savor the Summit – Park City, June 22, 2013

The 6th Annual Savor the Summit, showcases Park City’’s best restaurants and celebrates Utah’’s love of music and food.  This unique dinner party is served at The Grande Table in the center of Park City’’s Historic Main Street.  Beyond the meal, the event features a Spirit Garden serving a selection of local wines and beers as well as live musical performances. The event is free to the general public who want to witness the Grande Table, listen to the musical sounds and visit the businesses of Main Street.  Dining guests can make a reservation directly with any participating restaurant, each offering their choice of menu, pricing and bar service. Menu prices range from $40-$150.  For more information, visit

America’’s Freedom Festival at Provo: Stadium of Fire 2013 – Provo, July 4, 2013

The 33rd annual Stadium of Fire event, presented by America’’s Freedom Festival attracts over 40,000 people each year and is televised live to over one million military men and women around the world via the American Forces Network. Headlining Stadium of Fire events this year is Grammy-winning pop and rock star Kelly Clarkson along with Carly Rae Jepsen and  Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil. The night also includes the popular Stadium of Fire dancers, the biggest stadium fireworks show in America, the return of the Skydive Utah parachute, and other fun activities and surprises. Tickets range from $26 to $124. For more information,

Bluebird Café Concert Series – Sundance, July 5, 12 and 19, 2013

For the 11th year, Robert Redford’’s Sundance Resort and Nashville’’s famed Bluebird Café team up to bring music lovers the annual Bluebird Café concert series. Since its inception at Sundance Resort in 2002, the concert series has grown in popularity, bringing fans back to experience musical storytelling. Featuring some of Nashville’’s most popular singers, songwriters and musicians, the concert series embodies the Sundance tradition of storytelling and independent voice. By partnering with the successful Nashville musical café, which has launched the careers of countless country superstars from Garth Brooks to Taylor Swift, Sundance provides visitors the opportunity to share in the history, music and stories from their favorite musical artists among the backdrop of Mt. Timpanogos. Tickets range from $25 to $27. For more information, visit

Utah Arts Festival – Salt Lake City, June 20-23, 2013, 2012

The Utah Arts Festival, entering into its 37th year, is the largest outdoor multi-disciplinary arts event in Utah, drawing over 80,000 patrons to Library and Washington Square enjoy four days of performances from hundreds of visual artists, performing arts groups and culinary artisans. The festival includes visual arts, live performances on five stages, a fine-arts exhibit, a variety of street theater acts, a film program, literary arts events and contests, culinary arts and numerous activities for children. For more information, visit

Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre (UFOMT) – Logan, July 10 through Aug. 10, 2013

This annual five-week festival consists of over 100 events including four productions of grand opera, operetta, light opera, and/or seldom-seen Broadway-style musical theatre. Utah Festival Opera brings opera lovers together to partake in creative musical performances, set against the backdrop of Cache Valley’’s mountain scenery. Audience members can further immerse themselves in the experience with backstage tours, Utah Festival Academy classes, pre-performance discussions, Breakfast with the Stars, an International Competition and more. The festival takes place in Logan’s Ellen Eccles Theatre, a 1,100-seat European-style theatre featuring neo-classical design.  A highlight of the season is  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The festival’’s founder, Michael Ballam, makes this a destination opera for thousands of enthusiasts.  Prices range from $10-$76 per performance. For additional information on UFOMT, visit

Soldier Hollow Classic International Sheepdog Championship & Festival – Midway, Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, 2013

The Soldier Hollow Classic draws over 25,000 spectators to the Olympic hills of Soldier Hollow in Heber Valley to witness the world’’s best sheepdogs from Europe, Africa, South America and North America expertly move wild Rocky Mountain range sheep. Held on the same hillside that hosted Olympic athletes in 2002, the weekend-long event features a range of additional activities including Splash Dog championships, demos with police k-9 dogs, sled dogs and seeing- eye dogs, acrobatic dog entertainment performances, a wild animal show and more. Tickets range from $7.75 to $16 and children five and under are free. For more information, visit


Southern Utah

Utah Shakespeare Festival – Cedar City, June 24 through Oct. 21, 2013

The 52nd annual Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival in southern Utah’’s Cedar City offers classic and contemporary performances. The Festival is one of the oldest and largest in North America and features international plays, but the works of William Shakespeare remain its cornerstone.  For 2013, the lineup includes four Shakespearean classics, two hit musicals, an American stage icon about justice and the regional premier of Peter and the Starcatcher,winner of five 2012 Tony Awards. The plays are enhanced by interactive experiences. With eight plays in total, other exciting productions include King John, The Tempest, Anything Goes and Richard III, among others. For more information, visit

Bryce ATV Rally – Panguitch, Aug. 22-24, 2013

For active travelers looking for some off-road adventure, the Bryce ATV Rally offers guided and self-guided rides. With three National Parks, three State Parks, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, two National Scenic Byway’s and more than 2,500 miles of picturesque ATV routes, the region encompasses an abundance of stunning scenery and trails. Additional offerings surrounding the rally include an ATV Rodeo, special deals from vendors and sponsors, food, entertainment and more. For more information, visit

Moab Music Festival – Moab, Aug. 29 through Sept. 9, 2013

The award-winning Moab Music Festival brings world-class musicians to the red rock canyonland venues of Moab for a feast of chamber music, jazz and traditional music concerts.  Known as “music in concert with the landscape,” and noted for its distinctive programming, the 12-day event celebrates classical chamber music in addition to traditional folk music, jazz and Latin music from around the globe.  Acclaimed for the Festival’’s distinctive grotto concerts, audience members travel down the Colorado River in jet boats to a red rock site that is acoustically ideal for listening to performances.  For more information, visit

Escalante Canyon Arts Festival – Escalante, Sept. 27-28, 2013

The 10th annual Escalante Canyons Art Festival celebrates the life and work of enigmatic artist Everett Ruess who disappeared from the rugged canyon country near Escalante, UT in 1934 and was never seen again.  Organized by local businesses, caring citizens and artists and top Ruess aficionados, the Working Arts Festival is a premiere art and literary gathering with the aim of welcoming visitors to the stunning landscapes and intense beauty surrounding the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and educating them on the region’s rich history.  Festival events include fine arts and crafts exhibition and sale, lectures, films, exhibits, workshops, gallery open hoes, walking tours of nearby historic buildings and performances by poets, dance groups and musicians.  All events are free and open to the public.  For more information, visit 

To contact the Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, or to view the Utah Travel Guide online, please visit or call (800) 200-1160 or (801) 538-1900. Follow Utah on Twitter at


photo by: Zach Dischner
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Author: Lea Lane

Lea Lane is an award-winning writer/editor and world traveler, who’s visited over 100 countries. She was managing editor of “Travel Smart” newsletter and was the “Going it Alone” columnist for Gannett newspapers. She has written six books, contributed to dozens of guidebooks, and is a featured blogger on the huffingtonpost, and

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