BOUNTIFUL - Travel the world without ever leaving home.
Bountiful/Davis Art Center’s Summerfest International, a festival featuring art, food, music and dance, features performing groups from both Utah and countries as far away as Bangladesh. The festival runs Aug. 7 from 5-10 p.m. and Aug. 8 and 9 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Bountiful City Park. Admission is free, and everyone is welcome.
“It’s a fantastic resource for the community,” said Summerfest Coordinator Joshua Blackwelder. “It’s a free festival where families can engage with art, culture and traditions.”
Opening ceremonies will be on Aug. 7 at 6 p.m. at Bountiful City Hall, where many of the international performing groups will appear in costume for the first time. This year’s festival will feature groups from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lithuania and Taiwan (though a group from Sierra Leone was scheduled, they weren't able to make it).
Though this will be the first festival appearance for the group from Indonesia, representatives from the country have made regular appearances at the festival over the years.
“We have a good relationship with their national section of IOV (The International Organization of Folk Art),” said Blackwelder. “They’re usually very gracious guests, and their dances and music are wonderful. We love to have them.”
As always, the groups have overcome several challenges to attend Summerfest, including the difficult process of securing visas and raising the money needed to make the trip.
“A lot of groups have gotten less money from their ministries of culture, so they have to do more fundraising on their end,” he said.
Local performing groups include the Wasatch & District Pipe Band, the Japanese Church of Christ Taiko Drummers, the Eastern Arts Middle Eastern music group, and the Salt City Saints New Orleans Parade Band.
“Guests can experience culture not only from around the world, but right here in our own backyard,” said Blackwelder.
Several visual artists are also on hand, including Summerfest’s featured artist Tony Barbano and featured emerging artist Britney Scarbrough. There are also a variety of activities for the whole family, including face painting, art demonstrations, games and a children’s art yard where kids can make crafts to take home.
“There’s a little something for everyone,” he said.
Summerfest is now in its 26th year and is the longest-running consistently held arts festival in the state.
“The Springfield Arts Festival started earlier, but they’ve skipped a few years,” said Blackwelder. “It’s pretty amazing we’ve been able to do it so consistently.”
The festival’s huge staff of volunteers are a key part of Summerfest’s continued success.
“It’s a community builder,” he said. “Everyone pitches in to put it together. We wouldn’t be able to do this on our own.”