Utah summer festivals take varied responses to COVID-19

The Freedom Festival parade occurs each year in Provo on July 4. However, the fate of this year’s festival remains unclear due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. (Universe File Photo)

There are a number of Utah community celebrations and festivals that occur between the months of May and September. However, some of these have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have made or are trying to make difficult decisions regarding their celebrations.

Many festivals that are scheduled to happen later in August or September haven’t yet released an announcement regarding their status. Here’s what has been released so far.

American Fork Steel Days

For right now, Steel Days is still on as planned for July 6-11, but officials will discuss a final decision at the end of this month, according to Steel Days co-chair Josh Walker.

Bear Lake Raspberry Days

The Raspberry Days festival held in Bear Lake is scheduled to move forward as planned, according to Tami Leonhardt, the Director of Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“It is in August, so we are hoping everyone will be well at that time,” she said.

Brigham City Peach Days

Officials within the Box Elder Chamber of Commerce confirmed Peach Days will still be held as scheduled on September 9-12 in Brigham City.

Ephraim Scandinavian Heritage Festival

Caitlyn Nichols’ uncle, Ned Larsen, dresses up as a viking for the Scandinavian Heritage Festival. (Caitlyn Nichols)

Scandinavian Days is an annual festival held in Ephraim, Utah, in May. According to its Facebook page, the festival has been canceled due to COVID-19.

Ogden resident Caitlyn Nichols was disappointed to hear the news that the festival was canceled because she was planning on attending with her family as part of a long-standing tradition.

“My uncle dresses up as ‘Lars the Viking’ for the parade and festival every year and has done it for as long as I can remember,” she said.

Nichols said she thinks the decision to cancel may have been made prematurely.

“Part of me feels like it’s too early to cancel the event, since it’s at the end of May, and hopefully the virus should be clearing up sooner than that,” she said. “My guess is that there’s just a lot of planning that goes into the event that they can’t do right now due to social distancing.”

Fountain Green Lamb Days

Lamb Days is still scheduled for the third week of July, according to board member Abby Ivory.

“If (COVID-19) continues, we will follow the Governor’s orders to cancel celebrations. We are celebrating 90 years of Lamb Days and really don’t want to cancel this milestone,” she said.

Midway Swiss Days

Mayor Celeste Johnson of Midway said Swiss Days has not been canceled. The festival is scheduled to be held on Sept. 4 and 5.

Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days

According to a March 20 post on the Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days Facebook page, the festival is still on and will be held June 13-21 in Pleasant Grove, as originally planned.

Provo Freedom Festival and Stadium of Fire

As of now, it is unclear whether the Freedom Festival and Stadium of Fire performances will happen. Officials in Provo City said they are “taking it week by week.”

Utah Shakespeare Festival

The Utah Shakespeare Festival held in Cedar City was originally scheduled to run from June 1 through October 10. However, officials in the festival office released a statement on March 19 announcing minor changes to the upcoming season.

“Our season is moving forward with only minor changes: out of an abundance of caution, we have canceled performances and activities from June 1 to 9. Our ticket office is open now for telephone and web orders, and our windows for walk-up orders will open on June 10,” reads the statement.

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