July 7, 2015

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Summertime Gladness

Unique Summer Excursions are Just a Drive Away

By Adva Biton

July 7, 2015

Summer will soon be winding down. You may have come back from the annual family vacation and unpacked your bags, but there’s still lots do to just a drive away. Summer festivals unique to the state—the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the Sandy Balloon Festival and Bonneville’s Speed Week—offer a different flavor of fun in the long, lazy end-days of summer.

The Sandy Balloon Festival, August 7-8


Enjoy the beauty of brightly colored hot air balloons in this two-part event. Balloons take off, weather permitting, at sunrise at Sandy’s Storm Mountain Park. Then, at 8 p.m. at the South Towne Promenade, enjoy food, live music and the Glow, where hot air balloons are inflated and lit from within, and some of the best balloon pilots in the country stand by ready to chat. 

“There’s something magical about all that energy and all that ‘hurry up, get ready!’ when they launch. Then it’s just this silent, floating thing. There’s a fun camaraderie to share in the delight of what’s happening with strangers. There’s something about the magic of the flight.”

 ~ Mearle Marsh, Community Events Director, Sandy City.

Bonneville Speed Week, August 8-14


Located at the Salt Flats, east of Wendover on I-80, Bonneville Speed Week is a national amateur event held by the Southern California Timing Association. Now in its 67th year, Speed Week showcases some 500 entries of cars and motorcycles, each competing in a specified class for a speed record. The cars drive across the low-traction salt flats—a salt surface that is the remnants of an ocean that existed eons ago in what is now the desert—some in excess of 400 mph. 

Racing continues from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and spectators are invited to picnic or purchase concessions in the pit area and either chat with pit crews or set up some 200 yards off the racetrack to enjoy the view.

“People have been racing there since the 1920s. There’s no money involved. It’s very family oriented. There’s generations of people that still run. It’s a very laid-back, friendly atmosphere.”

~ Dan Warner, Board Member, SCTA; President and Chief Certification Officer, Bonneville 200 mph club.

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, September 2-5


Storytelling may conjure images of story-time at the local library, but the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is out to correct that misconception. While there are puppet shows for children, the festival invites storytellers from all over the country to amuse, engage and educate all ages. Events are held at the mouth of Provo Canyon at Mt. Timpanogos Park, where seven large tents provide shelter for storytellers and listeners alike.

There are plenty of food vendors, although picnickers are also welcome. Live music and pottery classes also take place throughout the day. 

“I love seeing the mix of generations enjoying the same storytellers. You can see the grandfather with his grandson, and they’re both loving a tall tale. Around the corner you can see a tent that has children and adults both crying over a personal story. I think that’s why the community loves it.”

~ Eliot Wilcox, Executive Director, Timpanogos Storytelling Institute

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