BOUNTIFUL - It’s like a block party with neighbors who live halfway around the world.
This year’s Street Dance and StreetFeast, set for Aug. 6 from 6-9 p.m. along Bountiful’s Main Street, kicks off this year’s Summerfest with an entire evening full of dancing, food and fun. Residents are welcome to either join in the dances with the international performers, or simply watch the show as they enjoy various dishes from local restaurants.
“(The Street Dance and Streetfeast) are like a primer for Summerfest,” said Joshua Blackwelder, the festival’s coordinator. “It’s kind of hard to get a feel for the crowd when they’re packed in like that, but it seems to be as popular as ever.”
This year, international groups from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lithuania, Sierra Leone and Taiwan will be at the Street Dance, as well as local groups such as the Wasatch District and Pipe Band.
“It’s a great opportunity to engage with the performers and learn their dances,” said Blackwelder. “It’s an opportunity to learn more about cultures not only from all over the world, but right here in our own backyard.”
Restaurants that will be on hand for the StreetFeast include Royal India, Bun and Basket, Vitos, Utacos Plus and more.
“We usually have a pretty good crowd, so we advise people to bring their own chairs,” said Blackwelder. “That way, they’ll have a place to eat and watch the show.”
They also have an option of being part of the show. Though the dance groups all have their own performances, they also spend some time guiding residents through a simple group dance from their own country.
People can decide whether or not to participate, but over the past few years more and more people have started taking advantage of the opportunity.
“Back when I was first volunteering, people seemed more hesitant,” he said. “But lately, I’ve seen a lot more people just jumping in there.”
Though there’s no age limit on participating, it’s often the youngest members of the crowd who lead the way.
“Kids are the bravest,” he said. “They’ll pull their moms out there.”
For Blackwelder, the crowd means it’s easier to get out and enjoy the dancing himself.
“It’s better for me, because I get nervous in front of people,” he said. “But when I do it with 50 other people, it’s not so bad.”