The festival, which runs today through Saturday at the Bountiful City Park, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Musicians and dancers from all over the world perform throughout all three days of the event, which also includes food, art and community activities.
It’s those community activities that Bountiful Mayor Joe Johnson remembers best about the festival. Every few years, he’s reminded of a photograph taken several years ago that shows him kicking up his heels with a dancer from Canada.
“It was a blast,” he said of the memory. “It was one of the first times I knew what Summerfest was about.”
This is the last year where he’ll host a reception for the performers, which gives him the chance to interact with them directly.
“Some of them bring me an instrument, and I always try to play it,” he said. “I fail miserably, but they always find it funny.”
For the hundreds of volunteers that help with Summerfest each year, the festival is also about hard work. Though this mostly involves things such as manning booths and making sure the performers have everything they need, sometimes the volunteers have to go above and beyond the call of duty.
“One year, we had that wind come down from the canyon that just blows everything apart,” said Larry Baird, one of the original organizers of the festival. “During the performances, Doug Lawn and I were holding onto the canopy (over the stage) for dear life. Otherwise, it might have ended up in the lake.”
For Emma Dugal, executive director at the Bountiful/Davis Art Center, Summerfest volunteers have changed her life. She first met her husband, Guy, when he offered his services as a translator for one of the performing groups.
“When we got married, we had to postpone the wedding for Summerfest,” she said with a laugh. “It kind of takes over your life.”