By Emory Cook
Those not familiar with Spanish Fork”s llama legacy will soon have a golden opportunity to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.
The 12th annual Llama Fest, organized by Utah Valley Llamas – a local business that rents and sells llamas – and the Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple in Spanish Fork, will take place this Saturday, July 15, 2006.
Plenty of activities and events are included in the festival, such as llama races and obstacles, live music, food and weaving demonstrations.
Alex Liberato, a junior majoring in communications, attended the event last year and said it”s a great opportunity to experience something completely different and entertaining.
“The festival is exotic and fun and indicative that Utah is a lot more international than we give it credit for,” he said. “I thought it was great to have another culture right in my back yard.”
The festival will feature a generous portion of traditional music from the Andes Mountains in South America, dancing and costumes. The music lineup will also include Country western and blues, and visitors can participate in arts and crafts.
But the stars of the show are the llamas. They are a crowd favorite, with more than 50 scheduled to attend.
Chris Warden, the festival coordinator at the Krishna temple, first became interested in llamas more than 15 years ago. He said the festival is not religious in nature and no proselytizing will take place, but visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the Hare Krishna movement if they desire.
Warden said he praised residents of Utah Valley and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their tolerance toward new and different religions.
“Leaders of the [LDS] Church have taken us under their wing to help us succeed,” he said. “Hardly a day”s gone by that we haven”t found newer and newer reasons to like it here.”
Los Hermanos de los Andes, a musical group consisting of South American natives who met at BYU in the 1980s, have performed at every Llama Fest since the event started in 1995. Edgar Zurita, one of the band members, said festival visitors who want a strong cultural and musical experience will leave the event feeling satisfied. He said the band enjoys performing traditional Andes music.
“It”s a way of sharing our culture,” Zurita said. “There”s a close relationship between llamas and South America.”
What: 12th annual Llama Fest
When: Saturday, July 15, 2006, 4 p.m.
Where: KHQN Radio, South Main, Spanish Fork
How Much: Admission is $3 per person ($1 per child)