From pioneer roots to modern music, Utah County Festivals are dedicated to heritage and community.
What’s red, white and blue, with an explosion of flavor and a massive sugar rush? It’s not a Sodalicious cocktail. If you thought of Popsicle's Bomb Pops, you’re close. It’s another bomb-diggity summer treat often found during festival season. Give up? It’s cherry and blue-raspberry flavored snow cones, duh. But all these Americana-colored treats are just the beginning when it comes to Utah County festivals, fairs, food and festivities.
There are races, live concerts, parades, Independence Day celebrations and amusement coasters. Dads over 30, feel free to sit the rides out — no need to hurl on an unsuspecting carnival worker that runs the tilt-a-whirl. These festivals are an annual Utah tradition and the perfect opportunity to bring the fam together. You can learn some history and glut out on a veritable smorgasbord of carnival food. Or you can make your kids go to the dunk-tank or sit behind the water balloon toss. Just for fun.
Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days Utah, June 10-18
Berries and cream, berries and cream! Are you a little lad who loves berries and cream? Then boy oh boy have we got a festival for you. This annual event is known for decadent strawberries n’ cream cups, carnival rides, pie eating contests and more. Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days also boasts the longest running rodeo in Utah, ringing in at 102 years! That’s nearly as long as it takes a rodeo clown’s slapstick routine to calm down the bull! That's nearly as long as a cowboy’s shadow at high noon on the summer solstice! That’s nearly as long as it takes to win a round of Oregon Trail! You get the gist. And while the festival has gone on longer than a century, the amazing list of events grows even longer.
Here are some faves. The Guns and Hoses 5k and Kids ½-mile races where you’ll join the police and fire departments and sprint to catch a thief or put out a fire! The four-day carnival where you can revisit that smorgasbord idea … or just spend all day on fair rides with a $35 day pass. The Pie Eating Contest — no hands allowed! On Fridays we wear pink — the rodeo organizers have dedicated Friday night of the rodeo for breast cancer awareness. And then there’s the car show where you can see around 100 classic and exotic cars.
Fork Fest, June 16-17
This is the artsiest, fartsiest and funnest event. Held at Art Dye Park in American Fork, the name of this park gives away Fork Fest’s activities. Two days with 32 bands, arts, crafts and food bring thousands of people together to celebrate local artists and musicians. You can bring your own lawn chairs and blankets, but no outside food or drinks. There are vendor stations and food trucks, though. So come ready to munch.
There are several stages with plenty of lawn space to lounge and listen. If you really want to get into the swing of things, set up in the hammock hangout. Relax while you’re gently rocked by both your hammock and the local indie band’s music. If you’re not playing in one of the bands, at least take some time to play in the bounce house or foam pit. And it wouldn’t be a music festival without some good merch.
This festival has over 25 events and counting to celebrate the birth of the U.S.A. — and the week of Independence Day really sets this party on fire. Because what’s better than having just one birthday party? A birthday party week! Don’t miss some of these fun celebrations during Provo’s Freedom Festival.
Provo Freedom Days, July 3-4
When life gives you lemons, that’s fetchin’ awesome because then you can have unlimited Texas Twister lemonades at Provo Freedom Days. Start the fun on a high note by sitting to enjoy live music with one of those lemonades in hand. After that, you’ll have freedom to roam from vendor to vendor looking for those super addicting roasted nuts, or for corn dogs and corn cobs. Can you even think of a more beautiful thing? Turkey legs, perhaps. Speaking of which, we’re pretty sure it’s written into the constitution that you must eat at least one turkey leg when attending a festival.
Freedom Run With Uncle Sam, July 4
This event is super family friendly with race lengths for everyone, including the Mayor’s mile, a 5k and a 10k. Costumes are also strongly encouraged for this race. So rally your powdered wigs, put on your red, white and blue freedom jorts, and sprint towards independence! Even if you're just waiting for your friends at the finish line, you’re in for some good ol’ fashioned people-watching, my good sirs and madams.
Grand Ol’ Parade, July 4
Be sure you set up your chairs and blankets early because this event is pop-u-larrrrr. It’s the largest of this kind of parade in the western United States!
There are marching bands, floats on floats on floats, giant helium balloons, fun equestrian entries and local and national performers. The parade will also have honorings for military members and first responders. Be sure to check out parade rules and directions, and don’t be the dingus that blocks a stranger’s driveway.
A Stadium of Fire Musicians and Fire Views, July 1
You look down to the bleachers below where you see your churro, fallen from your grasp. You shed a tear and think, “Here we stand … worlds apart … hearts broken in two, two two …” It’s ok though, because there are tons of other concessions to be had. And you’re about to witness one of the biggest stadium firework shows ever. Boom!
Who knew that Utah has the nation’s largest stadium firework show? We did. That’s why we’re telling you. Stadium of Fire has also had some of the biggest performers ever. The Osmonds got first dibs in the 80s. Alabama played Mountain Music for the Mountain West, probably. Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers made tweenagers cry. And this year Journey is back for another … journey. “True love won’t desert you!”
This event also has F-35 flyovers from Utah’s Hill Airforce Base and will be televised to over a million military members. Talk about epic. If you want to celebrate the nation’s independence and commemorate some amazing music and people, act fast before tickets sell out!
Spanish Fork Fiesta Days, July 19-24
The theme of this year’s week-long party is meant to make you feel like you’re “right where you belong.” This festival is full of cowboys, cars, carnivals and crafts, all to bring the community together.
Rodeo, July 19-22, 24
Rodeos are loved for a whole corral of things like buckin’ bulls, wrestlin’, ropin’, wranglin’ and wrangler jeans. Spanish Fork Fiesta Days, hosted at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds, has all this and more with their rodeo that’s been put on for over 80 years.
Grand Parade, July 24
Every year on July 24, locals will hop on the wagon train to commemorate pioneer settlers arriving in Utah. Well nowadays, those wagon trains, or prairie schooners, look a little more sparkly with ribbons and balloons and dancers. But floats in a parade are close enough to a wagon train, and a great way to celebrate Pioneer Day. The Grande Parade is also the largest Pioneer Day parade in Utah County.
Adopt-a-Duck Race, July 24
Rubber duckie, you’re the one. You make helping the community, lots of fun! This is a fun way to get the kids excited about giving back to the community. The Spanish Fork Fire Department sells thousands of rubber ducks to raise money that they then give back to local causes. Rubber ducks are “adopted” at $1 for kids and $5 for ages 12 and up. The rubber duckies are then placed into a downstream race where the winners can receive prize money.
Payson Onion Days, Aug 30-Sept 4
Ogres and onions have layers, just like Payson Onion Days. This festival has … yep … world-famous onions. Payson Onion Days started as an annual harvest festival celebrating Payson’s ability to grow onions that were so good they made people cry. But dry your eyes because it also has gobs of gorgeous gook to gobble at the fair! Uh, more delicious food that is.
This festival serves as an opportunity for new and old residents to renew old friendships and make friends anew. Now say that five times for a free onion. And what better way to cultivate friendships than heading to Payson Onion Days to rally for monster truck rides, run races or visit the car show.
As if Five Festivals Were Enough
If you haven’t had enough powdered sugar and funnel cake, there are tons more festivals in Utah County to visit this summer.
Lehi Round Up: See an all-horse parade and a farmers market
American Fork Steel Days: Has plenty of carnival rides and tournaments
The Highland Fling: Lots of dancing and hot air balloons
Santaquin Orchard Days: Has a self-described over-the-top rodeo
Utah County Fair: See a monster truck race, demolition derby and awards for livestock and vegetables
Salem Days: Dutch-oven cook off and a large firework show
Springville Art City Days: There’s a Duct Tape Regatta, enough said
Saratoga Springs Splash Days: Food trucks every monday, all summer long
Eagle Mountain Pony Express Days: Celebrates their ties to the Pony Express Trail
World Folk Fest: Celebrating cultures, dances and foods from around the world
Whew, that was a lot! But we’re not kidding when we say there are enough fairs and festivals to fill your entire summer.