In a way, Utah's heritage and culture reaches all the way back to the age when dinosaurs ruled the land; living and dying, then leaving behind a wealth of fossils. Ancient Pueblo cultures, known as the Anasazi and Fremont Indians, raised corn in Southern Utah from about 1 A.D. to 1300, and left remnants of their art, lives, and beliefs scattered across the state in petroglyph and pictograph panels, and ruins of their homes and places of worship. Predecessors of the Ute and Navajo Tribes roamed the region for centuries before the arrival of explorers from outside the region.
In 1776, as Americans battled for independence from England, Catholic Fathers Dominguez and Escalante explored and documented Utah's terrain. They were followed by other Spanish explorers and Mexican traders. In the 1820's fur trappers, including Jedediah Smith, William Ashley and Jim Bridger, discovered northern Utah's abundant trapping opportunities. During 1847, 1,637 Mormons migrated to the Salt Lake Valley seeking religious freedom, followed by soldiers, miners, and sheep herders. By the time the first transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory, Utah, in May of 1869, more than 60,000 Mormons had come to Utah by covered wagon or handcart.
Utahns, regardless of varied ethnic and religious backgrounds, share a sense that Utah's past is an important part of the state's future. From early settlement days, the cultural arts have been an important component of cities and towns across the state. Today, this tradition remains. Many communities produce pageants, plays and other events that showcase Utah's culture and heritage. Some of these productions have religious or historical themes, some are satirical and poke fun at our unique culture.
Culture & Arts Recommendations
Utah Festival Opera
If you're in the Cache Valley area, be sure to catch at least one show at the Utah Festival Opera. The show production styles include grand opera, operetta, light opera and/or seldom-seen Broadway-style musical theatre.
Who says theater belongs indoors? Tuachan Theater is an outside amphitheater with beautiful red rock scenery surrounding it. The shows always grace the stage and leave audiences with smiles and memories that will last a lifetime.
Bear River Heritage Area
The Bear River Heritage Area straddles the Idaho-Utah border where the Great Basin and the Rocky Mountains meet. It is a consortium of organizations in government, business, education, tourism, recreation, and other areas. They are dedicated to economic development through promotion and stewardship of the cultural and natural resources that are unique to this region.
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