ANTELOPE ISLAND - A visit to the Old West can help people in need today.
The Cowboy Legends Poetry and Music Festival is coming to Antelope Island May 23-26, with four days of food, activities poetry and music celebrating the cowboy life. As in previous years, proceeds from the event will be donated to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake.
“There’s not anyone you can talk to who doesn’t know someone who’s had cancer,” said Don Schrader, who is helping to organize the event. “It’s a good benefit.”
Admission to the festival is free (though it costs to get on the island), but organizers will raise funds through covered wagon rides and barbeque dinners that will be available for purchase. Old West Dutch Oven and Buffalo Island Grill will provide the food, while the performers provide some entertainment.
“We’ll have a singer and a poet on stage,” said Schrader. “It’ll be dinner an a show.”
The dinners are only one of the opportunities to hear the festival’s poetry and music, however. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday there will be performers on three separate stages performing throughout most of the day.
“One’s in the barn, one’s in the picnic area, and the third is on the front porch of the ranch house,” said Schrader.
Many of the performers are members of the Western Music Association, which is dedicated to preserving the music of the American West.
Cowboy poets feel the same about their history, often performing both original work and poems written in the early days of the West.
“I love cowboy poetry,” said Schrader. “To me, it’s the whole world.”
On Sunday, there will be a cowboy church service at 9 a.m. The service will be non-denominational, with religious-type poetry and songs such as “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “The Savior Called My Name.”
“They’re not hellfire and damnation, but they’re religious in their own way,” said Schrader.
That evening, there will be a potluck dinner, followed by a campfire sing-along. Everyone is welcome to participate, and if they’d like they can even bring some fire-friendly snacks.
“Kids roast marshmallows and hot dogs,” said Schrader. “They think it’s great to be around a campfire while the cowboys are singing.”
For a complete schedule of events and prices, visit cowboylegendsai.com.
“It’s a lot of fun out there,” said Schrader. “We love having everyone come.”
Admission to Antelope Island is $10 per carload. For information about camping, visit stateparks.utah.gov/park/antelope-island-state-park.