By Karissa Neely, Daily Herald
Residents from all over the valley are invited to the 14th annual Utah Lake Festival this weekend.
The Festival is June 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Utah Lake State Park, 4400 West Center Street in Provo. Admission is free, and residents will be treated to free drawstring backpacks for the first 1,500 attendees, a photo scavenger hunt, hayrides, games and crafts for children, food trucks, live music and free fishing instruction.
Attendees will receive a “Utah Lake Festival Passport,” and will be able to collect stamps from educational and activity booths for a free prize. For shutterbugs, the photo scavenger hunt will also offer a chance for prizes.
The Utah Lake Festival is put on each year by the Utah Lake Commission, as an avenue to educate the public about what is being done to improve the lake, recover the June Suckers and remove the carp, and promote recreational activities. The educational booths will teach residents about the environment of Utah Lake, activities the lake offers, and tips on summer water and boating safety — an essential tip in light of recent accidents across the state.
“It’s an opportunity to highlight the clean-up projects happening at the lake,” said Luke Allen, outreach coordinator for the Utah Lake Commission. “It’s had a bad reputation, but it’s come a long way in the last decade, and a decade from now, it’ll be even better.”
New this year will be a large sand sculpture of a June sucker, created by a professional sand sculptor. Residents can also build their own castles and structures in the newly-laid sand for the summer season. The commission will have buckets and shovels available for use.
The Bonneville School of Sailing will be presenting a sailboat regatta and a boat show, featuring 20 boats that work and play on Utah Lake, including a Coast Guard boat, and the Lake Commission’s own Land Tamer — a modified tank that works on both land and water, and “smashes” the invasive weeds surrounding the lake, Allen said.
“The festival is a great opportunity to see what Utah Lake is about,” Allen said. “The coolest thing is the lake is right here in the valley, and has great views of the county and the mountains. You can boat and fish from 30 access points around the lake. Eventually the trail system will go entirely around the lake, but there are significant sections throughout for walking and biking.”
Allen said if residents are planning on motor boating Utah Lake, they should plan to do so this month. Because of the dry winter, water levels at the lake are very low, and as the summer progresses those levels will drop even lower. Kayakers and canoers will be able to explore areas not seen in recent summers.
For more information about the festival, visit utahlake.gov.