Sizzle. Sizzle. Sizzle. August is just plain hot in most parts of Utah. So, when the umpteenth trip to the ice cream parlor doesn’t quite satisfy, pack up the clan and head for the hills. At 7,000 feet, Park City’s summer days are pleasant and evenings are as refreshing as a tall, cool glass of water. And, for better or worse, the town isn’t just a sleepy summer locals’ spot anymore. Quaint, yes. Dull, no. From arts and music festivals to sheepdog competitions in neighboring Midway, the summer season is hopping at high altitude. Here’s our picks of events not to miss:
Park City Kimball Arts Festival
Aug. 2 and 3
In its 39th year, the Park City Kimball Arts Festival retains the rare privilege of kicking all vehicular traffic off of Main Street for an entire weekend. This summer, 225 artists will fill Old Town with their handcrafted wares, from ceramics to photography and jewelry to multimedia creations. Festival goers are also invited to partake in artist demonstrations, live musical entertainment, face painting, culinary booths, Castle Creek wines and beer gardens.
“Come early when it’s cool and less crowded,” advises Kimball Art Center Director Bruce Larrabee, whose ceramics have graced the event for years.
Deer Valley Music Festival and St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights
Sure, Deer Valley Resort ranks high for its skiing greatness, but nothing beats a summer concert in its stunning outdoor amphitheater. Perhaps that is why August is chock full of outdoor entertainment, ranging from Gilbert & Sullivan to the Gipsy Kings.
This summer season, Keith Lockhart will wave his baton for the last time as Utah Symphony’s music director. The Deer Valley Music Festival also includes opera, salon events and intimate concerts at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Temple Har Shalom. It wraps up with back-to-back large-scale shows: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Aug. 15) and Gladys Knight (Aug. 16).
Park City Performing Arts Foundation’s Big Stars, Bright Nights packs in shows during the final weeks of summer. China’s Golden Dragon Acrobats will per-form Aug. 17, the first non-musical event in the series’ five-year history, followed by Boz Scaggs (Aug. 19), the Gipsy Kings (Aug. 26) and Dwight Yoakam (Aug. 30).
Park City Jazz Festival
Aug. 22 - 24
With artists ranging from Blues Traveler to Anna Wilson, Park City Jazz Foundation presents its 11th festival at Deer Valley Resort from Aug. 22 to Aug. 24. The three-day event fills two stages, complemented by a festival village (artisan booths and lounges) as well as a beer garden.
“We want to create a fluid environment as opposed to just camping out on the hillside,” explains the non-profit’s Executive Director Kris Severson, who adds that picnics are still a big part of the event.
Sheepdog Championship and Country Festival
Aug. 29 - Sept. 1
Doggone good entertainment fills Midway’s Soldier Hollow each Labor Day Weekend as internationally renowned competitors vie for the position of top dog.
“I tell people to just close their eyes and listen to the crowd. It sounds just like Wimbledon,” explains Mark Petersen, Soldier Hollow Classic director. Last year, he and 20,000 spectators witnessed polite clapping and whispered ahs give way to joyful outbursts as dogs out-performed each other in this mesmerizing country sport.
In Like a Lasso & Out Like a Lederhosen
August begins and ends with crowd-drawing country festivities in the Heber Valley.
The Wasatch County Fair and Ro-deo ends Aug. 2. www.co.wasatch.ut.us
Swiss Days celebrates Midway’s roots, combining food, crafts, music and merrymaking on Aug. 29 and 30. www.midwayswissdays.com