Diana Krall and the Utah Symphony

It’s no secret: I geek out at Deer Valley summer concerts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new discovery, or an old favorite. If I’m outdoors, with people I adore, watching live music and enjoying a picnic basket prepared by the expert culinary team at Deer Valley, then I am a happy camper of the highest order. Couple that with bumping into dear friends our neighbor, Sue, our pal Nikole and making some new acquaintances (I’m looking at you, fun couple from Texas), and I’m good to go. However, if you give me a few extra hours in gorgeous weather, hanging out with my husband and listening to Diana Krall with the Utah Symphony? Well, I am pretty sure there is no better way to spend the evening.


Because Krall happens to be one of Jeffrey’s and my favorite artists, we wanted to arrive early to get good seats. Pro tip: You can buy “back-rest” style seats which sit flat on the ground, and still qualify for seating in the “blankets-only” section, which fills up more slowly than the “chairs” section. So even though we were not anywhere close to the front of the line-up at the gates before they opened, we scored a close-enough spot that we could hear and see well.

When I saw Krall perform years ago at Abravanel Hall, I felt like that experience ruined me for all others no way would another one of her concerts be as perfect. Well, simply put, I’m an idiot. This woman has proven for years that she will capitalize on any opportunity to top herself. The evening she played at Deer Valley was ample demonstration of this. The weather, too, seemed to rise to the occasion. Sure, it was hotter than usual that night, but it was also clear, gorgeous and, eventually, the kind of cool summer evening that reminds us of why we live in the mountains.


Krall, herself, remarked upon this several times, noting that Deer Valley is her favorite ski destination, that she always feels at home here. (This is a recurring theme for nearly every artist who visits the Snow Park Amphitheater stage whether for the first time or on a return visit. And, no, I don’t think it’s just stage-patter flattery.)

One of the reasons Krall is such a joy to watch is that she, herself, is a fan. More than once, in the course of her set, she simply stopped playing to watch her band members, or to take in the Symphony’s arrangement, under the direction of conductor Jerry Steichen. “I kind of get lost in the music and forget to play,” she admitted. “I’m just such a fan.” It’s an occupational hazard, likely, of surrounding yourself with other gifted musicians.

So, thanks, Diana Krall, for giving me even more reasons to love your music, and to geek out at my favorite venue. Hurry back, please.

2015 Kimball Arts Festival

Every local I know has a favorite way to enjoy the Kimball Arts Festival. Artists, like my pal Jenny Terry, thrill at the prospect of being invited to participate. Others have repeat gigs as festival volunteers, selling tickets at gates, staffing the kids’ activities, helping out the artists, and doing countless little tasks that most festival attendees never realize have to happen. And, of course, tons of locals turn out on the Friday night of the festival, when locals are offered free admission.

Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

This year, as my family and I toured the festival, I realized that we, too, have our own Festival tradition the “Sunday morning stroll.”

We tend to arrive soon after the gates open on the final day of the festival. The sun isn’t quite high enough to beat down on the pavement, so it’s comfortable to walk around. We’ve likely enjoyed a late breakfast, so the kids aren’t clamoring for lunch the minute we arrive. And the crowd hasn’t hit its nadir yet, so we have the ability to chat with a few of the artists.

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Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

Also, we never know who we’ll run into. This year I had some marching orders. A friend in Boulder, CO had sent me a message that she wanted me to stop by the booth of an artist friend whose work she has photographed. We stopped to say hello to Dolan Geiman and got lost in his booth for a while, admiring his unique brand of “upcycled” art: objects layered and textured with a variety of media, and creating the kind of art that engages you in different ways every time you look at it.

Later as we made our way through some fascinating photography booths, we ran into our neighbor, Christopher, and his cousin. “I’m looking around to see what other wood workers are up to,” he explained. A talented carpenter, Chris is always eager to explore new ideas and inspirations.


Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

Of course, we stopped to see Jenny, who was thrilled by the response she received from her work this year. “I am so happy to see friendly faces,” she said. “I love meeting new people, but seeing my friends at the booth is a treat.”

Finally, we ran into our friend, photographer Mark Maziarz, who, it could be argued, had the most fun job at the Kimball Arts Festival: he was on duty capturing the presentation of awards to the winners.


Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

How do you enjoy the Kimball Arts Festival? Is there a method to your walk-and-hunt, or does each year give you the chance to do things a little differently than the year before? Let me know in the comments!

Race you to the top

This summer any time I was invited on a hike, it was a production. Knee brace? Check. Hiking poles? Check. I can remain in denial about advancing into middle age for only so long, right? Whatever.

Most days the hassle was worth the killer views, exhilarating endorphin’s, the works. Then, rather by accident, I happened into a pleasurable mountain climbing experience, the likes of which I had not enjoyed in several years: The scenic chairlift ride.

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My in-laws were visiting, and the kids wanted to show them the top of Bald Mountain, which is one of their favorite spots to ski. We were tempted by a text from our friends Stacey and Steven, who were planning to hike the Silver Lake Trail (one of my favorites we used to do it a lot when the boys were still riding in frame packs). We hadn’t seen them since winter, and they had just landed to spend the holiday weekend in their home. So the temptation to say, “yes,” was great. However, between my uncooperative knee and the in-laws’ recent arrival from their sea-level home turf, it seemed like a better idea to ride the lift up, and meet up with our friends afterward.

We split up into threesomes for the ride up on the quad chairlift. Dad, Grandma and Lance in one chair, Seth and Papa and me in the other.

It turns out, not every ascent has to be adrenaline-filled to be thrilling. The views, alone, were enough to stop me in my tracks. Even better were the moments when my kids pointed out their favorite ski runs to their grandparents. “See where those guys are mountain biking?” Seth asked. “That’s one of my favorite places to ski.” His grandfather was duly impressed with the kid’s ability to navigate the trees.

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We chatted, excitedly, about some favorite moments we had enjoyed on the mountain over the course of the ski season. We pointed out Sunset Cabin, where Seth helped me lead Temple Har Shalom’s famed “Ski Shul,” a ski-in ski-out Shabbat service, held each Friday at 3 p.m. during ski season.

Soon, we were disembarking from the chair (something that seems to inspire us to break into a jog, actually) and scrambling up the steps to the view area. While we pointed out ski trails and views of town to our visiting family, we took a bunch of photos. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Stacey and Steven, just summiting their hike.

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“Perfect timing!” I announced. “We couldn’t have planned that!”

We spent a few minutes more, exploring the mountain, and then added Stacey to one chair, Steven to the other, and began our descent. There is a good argument to be made for a round-trip chairlift ride, because the views of the Jordanelle (which you only glimpse for a few moments on the ride up) are expansive, spectacular, and in sight for a good several minutes on the way down.

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Of course, after all of that hard work, we needed refreshment. Thankfully, Steven and Stacey had the exact right trick up their sleeve a stop at the Snack Shack at Silver Lake Lodge to pick up Deer Valley’s famous chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.

Snack Shack summer opening on June 19, 2015

Summer Shopping at Deer Valley

Summer sales are my jam. That’s when I pick up technical base layers at bargain prices, reduced-price ski pants off of the kids’ racks (for my kids and their vertically challenged mom), and lots of other winter gear basics that always seem to be in short supply in our house once the snow flies. So imagine my delight when I was strolling past the Deer Valley Signatures store at Silver Lake Village one day this summer and found a sweater. Not just any sweater, mind you, but one I’ll call The Sweater of Joy.


See, in the last few months, I’ve been reading “The Magical Art of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo, and I made a commitment to only acquiring (and keeping) items for myself that bring me JOY. This sweater passed the test on so many levels. First, it was available only in my size. Not too big, not too small. My size. Second, it was displayed on a rack outside the door, marked “SALE.” Bargain! Yay! The original price had been scratched out, a price about 50 percent lower had been penciled in. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it elicited a bunch of groans from my kids. “You’re buying that, Mom?” they aren’t always on board with my predilection for polka dots or for mixing bright hues in a single garment. It embarrasses them. SOLD.

I was so convinced that owning this sweater would bring me joy that I didn’t even try it on. (My mother-in-law, visiting us for the weekend, was shocked that I would purchase any item of clothing without trying it on. But hey, sometimes you’ve got to live on the edge, right?) I knew it would be the perfect piece to layer year-round bright enough to show flair at a summer concert, after sunset, or to lend a pop of color to a snowy day.

Truth be told, there was a rack full of awesome bargains. Leather jackets, marked down to well-below mid-winter prices, more sweaters, some pants. But the thing is, I knew not one of these other garments, no matter how lovely, would match this sweater in the JOY department. So off I went to the register, wherein I was greeted with yet another surprise, the sweater’s revised price tag did not reflect an additional discount being offered that day. I’m calling it a win.

You can grab the last of the summer sale items this weekend (September 19 and 20, 2015) at the Signatures store at Silver Lake Lodge before it closes for the season. Or stop by the Signatures Store on Park City’s Historic Main Street this fall. Let me know if you find any hot deals.

Women on Wednesday: Perfect Partnerships

Some of my favorite combinations in life can be described as perfect partnerships: peanut Butter and Jelly. My boys, when they’re getting along well. In skiing, there are a couple of “perfect partnerships” every skier should cultivate. One is an instructor who “gets” you and whose style suits yours. The other is a good shop that can guide you through the care and feeding of you ski gear quiver rather than just sell you what you think you want, or tell you what you think you want to hear.

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The 2014 – 2015 season was my second year skiing Women on Wednesday, and when my two favorite “perfect partnerships” came together at the program’s welcome reception, I knew I was in for a treat. Jans Mountain Outfitters hosts the reception in their Snow Park Lodge store. Instructors and students mingle, meet and clinic veterans reconnect. I was happy to see Terri and Darlene, two members of the group I skied with the first year. And then, Donna—wonderful Donna McAleer. “The band is back together!” we shrieked (really, we did). I told them, excitedly, that our friend Kellie would be there in the morning, too. As far as I’m concerned, skiing with Donna is proof that perfect partnerships exist, especially when I think about the time we lucked into a ski day together, a couple of years ago.

We toasted our good fortune and then turned our attention to the excellent gear-head pep-talk from the Yoda of Jans Mountain Outfitters, Scott. (If, you know, Yoda were not short, green and hairy, but rather tall, gentle and genial.) “Please take advantage of the demo day we offer you,” he urged. “Finding the right pair of skis when you’re getting this level of instruction, can improve your skiing dramatically.” He also underscored the importance of a well-fitted boot.

He urged us to take advantage of the excellent tuning department. “Yes, I enjoy some privileges, but I will tell you that I never go out on the mountain without freshly-waxed skis,” he explained. “It makes the equipment work for you.” At that moment, I made a mental note to bring my skis in for a wax at the end of the following day. I’d logged more runs than I realized and the bottoms of my skis were, in fact, begging for some attention.

On day one there was a welcome breakfast, during which the catch-up continued, and students and instructors discussed goals for the five-week session. “We’re all here to have fun,” said Kelly, who supervises the Women on Wednesdays program. “So speak up if you’re not, so we know how to make it better.”

At the buffet, I bumped into a woman who had skied program the year before as well. “Wait a minute, I remember you,” she said. “Aren’t you an amazing skier?”

“Well, if you put it that way, of course I am!” I joked with her. “You’re my favorite, don’t tell the others!”

With my ego pumped, my pals Kellie, Terri and Darlene by my side, and the prospect of a sunny day on the slopes, I was ready to take on the day. A fun morning of get-to-know-you lift rides, including a warm up run on Success ski run, and a ski-off on Big Stick ski run, and we were split into our groups. We urged another woman to come join us with Donna. “We need a drummer!” someone said. “Come be our Ringo!”

Four instructors—two Advanced and two Expert—led us to the top of the double blue section of Big Stick, and we were told each group’s goals. Expert groups would spend the majority of their time, conditions permitting, off-piste, and likely in the Daly Chutes. “We’ll work on fundamentals on the groomers, double blues and blacks. So we can build confidence in every kind of conditions and terrain,” Donna said to the Advanced groups. “My group will go off piste, into moguls and probably the Chutes.” My heart skipped a beat, but I reminded myself this was a longer term goal, that Donna would build our group into a team that would be ready for the challenge by the time it presented itself. “Let’s go!” She said, as she prepared to make her first turn down Big Stick. “The Band is back together!”

All morning, Donna led us down double blue ski runs, Tycoon and Jordanelle were my two favorites. I love her “Ski it twice” mantra. If you like the conditions, ski it again. If you don’t like them? Ski it again because now you know how to adjust for the terrain.

Jordanelle Sign

By lunchtime, we were ready for a break—and lots of water, since we’d spent most of the day in the sunshine. The first day of Women on Wednesdays, we eat in Silver Lake Lodge, taking our trays to the Mariposa dining room, so that the instructors and students can compare notes on the morning. Instructors compare notes on the skiers they’re coaching, to make sure that everyone is placed in groups from which they will learn the most. And, as I learned, the resort uses this moment to make sure the groups are split into the promised 4 – 6 students-per-instructor ratio. “I’ve really enjoyed the morning skiing with you, but I want you to listen to what Kelly, who supervises this program, has to say,” she explained.

Kelly noted that if we wanted to remain as a group of seven, then we’d need to sign a paper that acknowledged that we were not getting the ratio we’d paid for. “Deer Valley wants to honor its promise to you,” Kelly said. “And we want to ensure a great experience.”

“I don’t care what I have to sign, I’m staying with you!” I announced to Donna—and the whole table. Everyone laughed, but I was dead serious. Still, It broke the ice enough for others to speak up. One of our group asked if she could move down to an Intermediate group from our Advanced crew. Another was encouraged—by the instructors and by the rest of us, to try out the Expert group for the afternoon. With that, we had achieved wiggle room, so that if one of the two changed her mind, there would be room to welcome her back.


With that settled, our newly-minted group of five headed for Stein’s Way—where conditions were not quite as stellar or consistent as promised, and for some reason, I lost all my mojo by the third turn. I clamped my boots down to the point of distortion and pain, and fought my way down the hill. The inevitable had happened—my boots were giving me every indication they’d seen better days. I made a note to stop into Jans to get my skis waxed—and to lay the groundwork for a boot fitting later in the week. I ended the day feeling grateful for perfect partnerships—and for the fact that four more weeks of fun lay ahead.

Another Great Tour of Utah

Even though I’m not a road cyclist, I love to watch a good road bike race. I always make a point of watching as much of the Tour de France as I can. Being from there and all.

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Park City hosts stages of a similar race, the annual Tour of Utah. I make certain that I don’t miss this race when it comes to town. Especially on the day when the race starts and ends on Park City’s Historic Main Street.

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Just like the Tour de France ends up parading the Parisian Champs-Élysées before coming to a close, the Tour of Utah does the same in Park City.


My wife and I went very early in the afternoon on Sunday, August 9, to visit the various vendors that were on the upper section of Main Street and to secure a good vantage point. We marveled at the Scott Sports tent where some bikes were lighter than air.


Upper Main Street was filled with vendors. We picked up some swag and admired artists writing encouraging slogans, designing all kind of symbols and painting American flags on the asphalt welcoming the competitors.


I’m not good at keeping tabs on who wins each stage and don’t know much about the teams engaged in the competition. This gives me more of a reason to cheer for each of the racers as they pass by the intersection of Heber Avenue and lower Main Street, just yards from the finish line!


These athletes seemed fueled by endless momentum gathered from reaching the top of the last peak (Empire Pass) and barreling down the rest of the course at 75 mph.


Large TV screens kept the spectators in touch with the race. The crowds began roaring a full minute before every single cyclist would make his entry onto Main Street after completing what is said to be the most grueling American cycling stage race.

dv-tou-gThe weather held steady, with some welcome big clouds making the temperature perfect. We promised that we would return next year, as the Tour of Utah will be back on Main Street, Park City, next August 7, 2016. Make sure to mark your calendar!


Tidal Wave: A Trail is Born!


Deer Valley Resort offers great lift-served access to its hiking and mountain bike trails. Every season has seen continued maintenance, upgrades and additions to the network of trails that crisscross its mountains.

For the first fifteen years all of the trails were built by hand during the spring and summer seasons. While the work quality was outstanding, the trail crew didn’t have the luxury of moving large obstacles around to create an ideal path; instead, they often had to adapt to the whims of the terrain by going around rocks, stumps or whatever got in their way. More recently, small machinery began to make a huge difference, but still couldn’t always achieve the vision that some trail designers already had in mind.

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About one and a half years ago, the resort felt that it was time for a more radical trail update to bring new elements that would reflect current riding trends and new mountain bike technology. Enter Gravity Logic. Deer Valley asked the Canadian based consulting company to make a general assessment of the resort’s trails, conduct a feasibility study for new ones and then deliver a master plan of what should be done in terms of upgrade and new trail creation. Last fall the overall plan was reviewed and the resort decided on a course of improvements that would help with the trail system’s most pressing needs.


The project began in May of 2015. Gravity Logic came to Deer Valley for two weeks, during which time plans were formulated for the creation of “Tidal Wave,” a brand new intermediate flow style trail. Chris Erkkila, assistant mountain biking manager recalls, “We broke ground on June 1st and we wanted to have some product to show on opening day. On June 19 we had the upper section of Tidal Wave ready for our season opening. Since that time sections have been added and we’re hoping that in early September the entire trail is completed.”


The new Tidal Wave trail was created with “riders from five to 65 years of age with varied mountain bike abilities” in mind as Chris puts it. This is not a beginner trail per se, but a “blue-flow” trail designed so that riders from new-intermediates through pro level can all enjoy it. Even though I’m slightly over the above-stated age limit, I recently rode it. I admit I was intimidated when I came face to face with the trail’s very first sweeping turn. However, the fun thing about Tidal Wave is that it’s been designed to be ridden at various speeds and still be fun. So fun in fact, that it duplicates the feeling of being on a roller coaster while riding a bike. What’s remarkable is that slow riders can co-exist on this trail with faster downhill pros.


Gravity Logic has worked on on a wide variety of mountain bike trails for many years and has learned what works and what doesn’t. For example, there are “hubs” built into their designs. These hubs allow riders to stop more frequently, relax, take a break or just let faster riders pass them before continuing their descent. Some of these “hubs” existed in the past, but from now on, they’ll be more ubiquitous. Also, the modern trail design is wider and provides more room to pass.

According to Erkkila, the public’s reaction to the completed upper section of Tidal Wave has been extremely encouraging, “We’ve looked at was being posted on social media. All of the comments have been very positive. We wanted to offer something that wouldn’t be too intimidating and yet provide thrills for everyone.” What’s coming out clearly is that Deer Valley now has a product unique to Utah, that can welcome a wide range of riding skills while addressing what the market demands. Bike technology has been a major driver for this. Chris adds: “Just in the last 10 years bikes have become significantly lighter, with better suspensions and more powerful brakes. These days, as bikes change, so do trails!”


As it promises to change the way riders appreciate Deer Valley’s mountain bike trails, Tidal Wave might be the first step in a transformation that may sweep the entire resort in the upcoming years.

The future master plan is likely to be a green flow-style trail, more adapted to beginners needs. “While Tidal Wave was laid out at an average grade of 8 percent, the future green trail would only be sloped between 5 to 6 percent,” explains Chris Erkkila, “It still would be a downhill bike trail, but it would be tamer, not as steep, offering a much easier starting level and a smoother progression for learners.”

This new development bodes well for the future of mountain biking at Deer Valley. Since summer isn’t over yet, make sure to try the open sections of Tidal Wave soon! There’s no need to wait until its completion at the end of the month to understand and appreciate the shape and thrills of this type of trail design!

Share your Tidal Wave photos with #DeerValleySummer on Twitter and Instagram.

Summer Adventure Camp

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I love Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp. I’m not just saying this because on a recent day,when I had the chance to visit camp, I was declared the winner of Four Corners, a fantastic running-around game that took place on the stage of the Deer Valley Amphitheater. (Seriously, the very same stage that has featured the likes of Grace Potter, Kristin Chenoweth, and countless other superstars serves as a play area for the campers!). So, yeah, I achieved rock-star status, in the eyes of a bunch of four-and-five year olds, on that very stage. And, really, I can’t think of a group of people better qualified to confer such status.

There’s a special magic to Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp. I can say this, with authority, because it was the camp that turned my kids on to the idea of summer camp, in general, the one that planted the seeds for all the cool camps they have attended both in town and in the mountains, for the last eleven summers. The day I visited was rainy and cool—yet the dedicated staff turned every possible corner of the Snow Park Lodge area into a fun-filled playground.

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There was some cool game called Shark Attack being played by a group of older kids in the locker room. You can’t really appreciate how big the room is, until you see it used by 20 kids, instead of a hundred or more skiers. (Oh, so that’s why it never feels crowded: it’s huge!)

Prior to that, a group of over 20 kids and five staffers sat in a circle in one of the home-base camp rooms, sharing their names and favorite animals. For the kids, it was a chance to come up with the most unusual choices they could think of—and see if the counselors could top it. When one child said her favorite was the hammerhead shark, Will, a counselor, said, “Oh, that was mine!” and then proceeded to tell the circle that his second favorite animal is a platypus. Cue the huge laugh from the peanut gallery. As the game went on, and chatter started to creep in, the counselors had the opportunity to remind everyone about taking turns listening and sharing, it was the kind of learning-through-play that really works, and also helps keep order in a larger group of kids.

“This has been our busiest season, ever,” says Kelly Witter, Summer Camp Supervisor for the 5-6 and 7-12 year-old campers. “People like that we change it up every day. The parents like that we are electronics-free, and that their kids are always trying new things.”

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Another bonus? “We are well under the state’s ratio for staff,” she says. “With our 5-6 year-olds, we have 6:1, and with our 7-12, it’s 8:1. And our staff is engaged all the time with the kids.

The low ratios allow for plenty of exploration in the greater Park City community. “We have our own vans, so we can pick up and take the kids to the Utah Olympic Park museum on a rainy day—they’re out there, having fun, and moving around and they don’t even realize they are learning something, too!”

The camp staff works hard to make the camp feel like a community. “The kids who are here for ski school in the winter, and camp in the summer, they really feel part of something,” Kelly says. “And we work to make it so they are aware of the larger community, too.”

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For instance, each summer, campers create artwork that is displayed in a show throughout the Children’s Center lobby and the Snow Park Lodge hallways. The art is sold with the proceeds going to a local non-profit. “This year, we are donating the proceeds to Recycle Utah’s glass recycling program,” says Deer Valley Resort’s Children’s Programs Manager, Mya Frantti.

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Which may explain why I spied Kelly spraying a multicolored picnic table, at one point. “The kids and I colored this with chalk, for the art show,” she explained. “So now I’m sealing it—which, it turns out, can only be done with hair spray!”

See? Even the adults learn things at camp, in the name of having fun.

How to Weekend: Park Silly Sunday Market

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Now, why are you looking at her like that? Maybe because that’s exactly the point. Welcome to the Park Silly Sunday Market on historic Main Street. It’s time to get your silly on.

Park City is one of the most unique towns in Utah with its dwellers beating to their own drum, often at the envy of those who don’t live close within its radius. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the sights, sounds and eco-friendly weekend every local can.

Park City’s Main Street is well known for it’s annual Arts Festival where artisans and vendors from around the world display and sell their handmade art and wares. But with the festival happening only once a year, and with more demand from shoppers wanting to purchase local art/crafts/goods/food in a festival-like environment, Park City saw an opportunity to create a weekly destination, an event in its own right. And Park Silly was born.

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The street fair is held every weekend from June through September with up to 30,000 visitors each Sunday, many of those coming to the mountain to escape the heat of the Salt Lake Valley below. But don’t let the thought of crowds keep you away, this is an event and one you want to be part of. Some vendors change from week to week, and some are nearly permanent fixtures, so variety is always happening. The booths extend from the bottom portion of Main Street at 9ᵗʰ to mid Main at Heber Avenue (map here) and are intermixed with food, art, clothing and even DIY crafts like building with alabaster for the kids.

Roads are closed to accommodate a steady stream of patrons from every walk of society, baby strollers, dogs on leashes and even stilt walkers eating chocolate covered bananas towering above the masses.

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Want to adopt a duck? You can do that. Chickens too.

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A changing line-up of bands play each Sunday keeping the crowd lively and on their feet. Or like in this photo, in the rings.

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At the bottom of Main Street is the famous Bloody Mary Bar. Self serve cocktails are sold to those 21 and older with a killer display of additions to add to your locally distilled Five Wives Vodka cup. It’s like tomato salad in a boozy cup. That’s my kind of Mary. If you’re not into bloody mary’s, local beers and cocktails like Huckleberry Vodka Lemonade are also available and extremely sippable.


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Park City’s craft chocolatier Ritual Chocolate lured me into with the brownies. How could I not?

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Hungy? This cinnamon roll from Utah’s Own Backyard Bakeries that is LITERALLY the size of your head should do.

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Tongue in cheek art is easily purchased from The Hive Gallery and Boutique with a frozen banana from one of the multiple food vendors.

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What were you doing when you were 18 years old? This guy is designing jewlery like this! His booth had me captivated. And buying. I’ll be coming back to KGEK Design soon to do more damage to my credit card. Love.

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Another purchase of the day was this leather cross body bag from Sash Bags. I’m loving it still.

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After trolling up and down Main Street and receiving some much needed retail therapy, a rest was in order. We ponied up to a table under the tents and took in the sounds of locals Herban Empire. A little reggae/rock for Sunday never hurt anybody in my book.

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And how could we pass up this big old puppers looking for a new home. Oh if only we could…maybe next week?

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Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 7 – September 20

Visit their website here.

Follow them on Facebook here.

Heidi Larsen is the creator of foodiecrush.com, the blog and online magazine featuring family friendly recipes and inspiring photography. She also photographs Deer Valley Resort’s food and fine dining when not enjoying quality time on the ski hill with her husband and 11 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.


Creepy Crawlies at Camp

I’ve done plenty of celebrity interviews in my time. I have even attended the Emmy Awards, and more than one red carpet. But never have I seen a crowd so thrilled to see a celebrity than the day Kim’s Cold Blooded Creatures visited Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp!


Kim, a Park City local for about seven years, has numerous snakes, spiders, tortoises, turtles and lizards that she and her family keep as pets. She makes it clear that the real stars of the show are her pets. She spends many days a week traveling to schools, camps and birthday parties for an interactive educational presentation, through which she educates kids (and any adults in the room, for that matter) about each creatures habits, habitats and defense mechanisms.

She is so popular around Park City, that when she brought out a baby Bell Python, a child called out, “You got a new snake!” prompting Kim to ask when the child had seen her last. “In June? Yes, you’re right this snake is about a month old!”


Her passion for such creatures started early. “I had an older brother who used to take me hunting for frogs and lizards when we were kids,” she said. “He passed away at 13 from leukemia so having these pets and learning about them, and now teaching about them, has been a way for me to stay connected to him and to honor him.”


And her educational business is a family affair. “These are all our pets, and they live at home with us,” she said. “I do this so people aren’t scared of insects and snakes when they might come across them in nature.” Assisting her on this day were her adult son, Alex, and his girlfriend, Kennedy (who initially had a snake wrapped around her head, prompting a camper, age five, to call out, “You’re Medusa!!”). “None of my animals are dangerous or I wouldn’t let you hold them,” Kim explained. “After all, I let my own son hold them, so you know you’re safe.” She also gently, but firmly, reminded the campers how to keep the animals safe by touching them gently.


The children sat as she brought out a variety of creatures, promising along the way, that there would be opportunities to hold them. “You don’t have to hold anything or touch anything,” she assured her audience. “None of my animals have ever bit or stung a person.”

Over the course of an hour, we learned that no one has ever died from a tarantula bite, that tarantulas will kick off hairs from their abdomen to irritate and scare off a predator, and that if you want to find scorpions, you can go out at night with an inexpensive blue light and the scorpions will glow under the light. We also learned that the Australian Prickly Stick insect, which are harmless (Alex was wearing one on his face at one point in the presentation), were used as doubles for poisonous scorpions in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.


“It’s a very cool insect, and it hangs on really well,” Kim quipped.

We met a Madagascar hissing cockroach and a Peppered Roach, both of which serve as “nature’s recyclers,” eating dead plants, some animal carcasses and helping to create holes in the vegetation canopies in the jungle, so that sunlight can reach the lower plants.

We also met a Crested Gecko named Pop Tart, whose tail or lack thereof, proved cautionary (the pun is mine—apologies to Kim!) to the kids. “Someone wasn’t gentle enough with her at a birthday party, and her defense mechanism was to shed her tail,” Kim explained. “Dropping the tail distracts predators, but it doesn’t ever grow back.”


As she introduced a bearded dragon and various breeds of non-venomous snakes, Kim took the opportunity to educate kids on what it means to take responsibility for a pet. “You shouldn’t go to a pet store until you and your parents have done some research on exactly how big the pet will grow, and what kind of care they need,” she said. “Some people think if it doesn’t work out, the pets can go to live at a zoo. But zoos don’t want our pets, and pets need a forever home. So you need to be responsible about adopting pets.”

After all of the introductions were made, kids lined up to meet the pets, some wearing snakes, others holding tortoises, lizards and yes, even the tarantula. And, I daresay, they were gentler with the stars of this show than most adults are with human celebrities.


“This has been our most successful guest speaker, yet,” said Kurt Hammel, childrens programs assistant manager at Deer Valley’s Summer Adventure Camp. “I’ve never seen the kids so engaged.” (Word to the wise: I noticed Kurt snagging Kim’s card—so don’t be surprised if you bump into Kim and her Cold Blooded Creatures someday during the winter season, too!)