Visitors to the Utah Arts Festival stride across concrete promenades and grassy lawns sprawled out between fountains and modern buildings, which have glass walls that reflect the fest’s vibrant paintings and eclectic sculptures. Since its inception more than 35 years ago, the four-day festival has taken over a multiblock radius to accommodate hundreds of visual artists, musicians, performers, and culinary artists, each celebrating modern art and the local community. Throughout indoor and outdoor exhibitions, visitors explore varied works of visual art represented through special exhibitions and hands-on workshops with featured artists. A marketplace also gives artists a place to sell their paintings, wearable art, and sculptures to help disseminate their crafts and raise enough money for van Gogh’s ghost to move out of their basements.
Musicians score the festival throughout its days with worldwide genres on several outdoor stages, and storytellers and other literary artists tickle ears with eclectic tales and recitations of the UN staff directory. Across the grounds, festival staffers recycle the fete’s discarded plastic, aluminum, and cardboard as well as food scraps and vegetable oil, and promote eco-friendly practices with a protected bicycle lot and bike valet.
Bumper cars collide, mini roller coasters swerve along tracks, and tubes weave around slides at a soft play area inside The Hollywood Connection's 160,000-square-foot facility. Roller or inline skates glide to pop and rock tunes in a rink illumined with cyber lights and IntelliBeam, and the laser-tag arena glows in neon paint, black lights, and fireflies that carry demands across enemy lines. Elsewhere, golf balls tumble down greens toward 18 holes with themes such as the Old West, an underwater cove, and the prehistoric era. An arcade hosts more than 100 driving, racing, and combat-simulator video games, and a 15-screen Carmike Ritz movie theater treats up to 2,000 viewers to new releases on digital, 3-D-capacity screens. Visitors can reenergize between attractions with popcorn or snow cones from the snack stand (open Friday–Sunday), nab cones from the ice-cream parlor, and shape stacks of nachos into pompadours at the '50s-themed diner.
Originally written for Queen Mary’s 80th birthday in the late 1940s, The Mousetrap has since gone on to universal acclaim, with a diverse fan base that includes everyone from octogenarian monarchs to barely teething toddler theater critics. Barta Heiner directs the Covey Center’s production of the classic murder mystery, leading a talented cast of actors through a story of devious death and drama in a manor. The Mousetrap is the longest-running play in the world; by the time it reached its 25th anniversary in the 1970s, an estimated four million people had seen it—more than three times the amount that tuned in to see The Beatles make an elephant disappear on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
Academy West gives restless young Utahns a chance to expend excess energy in the form of choreographed dance, tumbling, cheer, or gymnastics classes. The adroit staff of CPR-certified safety gurus is composed of deft dancers and top-notch tumblers who teach thrilling routines to children craving more choreography in their lives. The 22,000-square-foot facility is packed with high-quality equipment and enough protective foam to swaddle a Herculean toddler attempting a triple aerial in place of his or her first steps.
The WCFC pins proficient punchers against each other during intense one-on-one bouts. Throughout the Last Man Standing event, fighting fans absorb four hours of adrenaline-packed jabs from floor seats, which are close enough to cheer on fighters, overhear the trainers' strategies, and slip favorite protein-shake recipes into competitors' gym bags. Two simultaneous eight-man tournaments—divided by weight class—sustain the evening of nonstop scrapping during five-minute bouts, which afford combatants little time to conserve energy or stall with levelheaded games of Monopoly.
"A lot of our recipes come from family," explains owner Adam Wheaton. "Alicia's cheesecake is my wife's sister's, our italian stuffed mushrooms come from an aunt, my wife's mom…has probably put her hands or ideas into everything we serve." Working from these recipes and others, the chefs grill up steaks, broil lobster tails, and make tortilla chips, crab cakes, and barbecue sauces in-house. Additionally, they help to accommodate restricted diets by forging a number of dishes devoid of gluten and chicken thighs that show too much skin.
This commitment to family is a recurring theme for the steak house. When the Wheaton family's daughter, Madeline, was diagnosed with severe epilepsy at age 3, doctors said the condition would steadily worsen over time and would likely claim her life in her teens. To say she proved medical professionals wrong is an understatement—she has only demonstrated improvement since then and continues to exceed expectations. The Wheatons, of course, wholeheartedly rallied behind their daughter, naming the family's restaurant after her and partnering with local charities to help raise awareness of and fight against epilepsy.