Editor’s note: This story pairs with another titled “Future Utah Lake improvements to enhance community experience”.
The Utah Lake Commission will host the Utah Lake Festival — Utah Lake’s largest attraction — June 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Utah Lake State Park.
The main goals of the festival —expected to draw 4,000 people — are to “improve the lake, promote recreational activities and allow the attendees to enjoy a beautiful Saturday at one of Utah’s greatest natural resources,” according to the Utah Lake Commission website.
The festival will include a sailboat regatta, boat rides, live music, food trucks, free fishing instruction and educational booths. Admission to and parking at the event are free.
Many Utahns have expressed disappointment about Utah Lake’s murky water, but Utah Lake Commission Executive Director Eric Ellis said the lake is actually extremely safe and “great 99 percent of the time.” Aside from occasional algal blooms — particularly blue-green algae — the lake water is safe to swim in.
“It’s a fantastic lake to be in,” Ellis said. “The water’s warm. You can find endless amounts of space for wakeboarding and waterskiing, and you don’t cross paths with 40 other boats like you will at many of those alpine reservoirs that get all the boat attention.”
Ellis said Utah Lake’s murky appearance is caused by wind stirring up the silty bottom of the lake.
“What people really need to recognize is that Utah Lake is simply just a unique lake,” Ellis said. “Its the third-largest lake west of the Mississippi in surface area, but it’s on average only 9 to 10 feet deep.”
Cathy Davidson, a BYU senior from Virginia, said she enjoys going to Utah Lake to “take a break from school and work and stress.” She said it’s nice to have an inexpensive place to spend her time and enjoy the outdoors.
Davidson said activities like the Utah Lake Festival are “awesome” for both students and other members of the community.
“Sometimes it’s easy to see BYU as your world, and it’s kind of confined, but I think (activities at the lake) are a good reminder that BYU students aren’t the only people living in Provo, and there are families and children who live here who want to be able to do things in the community,” Davidson said. “So I think its awesome that there are things in Provo that are for anyone.”