Get in the holiday spirit at the Festival of Trees now through Saturday, December 1st. In addition to viewing hundreds of beautifully decorated trees, there are aisles of wreaths, gingerbread houses, quilts, Nativities, centerpieces & collectibles. After walking around the 220,000 square feet of displays, you may want to sit for awhile at one of the two performance stages to watch the dancers and singers performing.
Children will enjoy a visit with Santa or making crafts at the Kids Korner. Be sure to stop by the Elf Emporium for handmade gifts for children, the Sweet Shoppe for some fudge, and the Gift Boutique for some early holiday shopping.
Everything at the Festival of Trees has been donated to raise money for Primary Children’s Hospital. It is run by volunteers. The Festival of Trees was inspired forty-eight years ago by a group of women looking for ways to raise funds for children’s medical costs. In its first year, $47,000 was raised. Last year, $2.7 million dollars was raised.
The Festival of Trees is at the Mountain America Expo Center, 9575 State Street in Sandy. Adult admission tickets are $7. Children (ages 2-11) are $4. Children younger than 2 years are free. Seniors, age 65 and older are $6. If you have younger children, strollers would be very helpful to bring. I would recommend leaving heavy coats in your car (if you can manage the walk from your car to the building), to avoid having to carry them around inside as you are walking around for hours.
The trees are beautifully decorated with themes including super heroes, cartoon characters, sporting events, and nostalgic memorabilia. Many of the trees were designed in the memory of a loved one who has passed away. One of the trees was in honor of South Salt Lake Officer David Romrell who was killed in the line of duty on November 24th.
Although many of the trees have been sold at auction on the opening night; there are still many that are available to purchase at the listed price.
The holiday season starts off before you can finish eating all of leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal. The dark sky is ablaze with festive lights. Here are a few ideas to get into the holiday spirit.
Turning On the Lights!
Draper City Park Tree Lighting Ceremony – Monday, November 26, 2018 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Draper City Park 12500 S 1300 E. Festivities include lighting the Tree of Life, music and a visit from Santa.
Lights on Wakefield’s Lighting Ceremony – Friday, November 23, 2018 Lights will be turned on at 7 PM. 6388 S Wakefield Way (5885 West). 60,000 light display in tune to music. Keep your radio tune to 87.9 FM. Light Display runs nightly until New Years. Free event, but donations are gladly accepted for the Mascot Miracles Foundation.
Midway Town Square Tree Lighting Celebration – Saturday, November 24, 2018 from 6 PM – 7 PM Enjoy cookies, hot cocoa and have photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Ogden Electric Light Parade – Saturday, November 24, 2018 5:30 PM. Parade of lighted floats and performers on Washington Blvd, from 22nd Street to 26th Street. Santa arrives on the final float of the parade and flips the switch to light up Christmas Village at the Municipal Gardens.
Park City Electric Light Parade – Saturday, November 24, 2018 beginning at 4:00 PM. Santa and holiday carolers can be found strolling along Main Street. At 5:30 PM the Main Street lights and the Christmas tree in Miner’s Park will be turned on. The Electric Parade arrives on Main Street at 6:00 PM.
Spanish Fork Winter Lights Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony – Friday, November 23, 2018, lighted floats parade on Main Street beginning at 7 PM.
The Jingle Bus is a free bus service for visitors to downtown Salt Lake City. Jump on board the Jingle Bus for rides to the Gateway, Temple Square, City Creek Center, Gallivan Plaza and the Capitol Theatre. Volunteer hosts provide fun facts about downtown as riders enjoy seeing the holiday lights and decorations in the city. The Jingle Bus runs 7 days a week from Friday, November 23rd to December 31st (except Christmas day) from 5 to 10 PM.
Candy Cane Hunt – Monday, December 10th, 2018 4 PM. Draper Historic Park 12625 S. 900 E. Hunt for thousands of candy canes will be hidden in bushes and trees and scattered around the park. Look for the specially marked candy canes which can be redeemed for toys. Santa will arrive by fire truck. He will be available for visits with the children under the Christmas lit gazebo where you can take your own photos for free.
For some, there is confusion on what we are honoring on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day. Armed Forces Day is observed on the 3rd Saturday of May to recognize men and women are serving in the Armed Forces in the present time. Memorial Day, also known as “Decoration Day” is observed on the last Monday of May to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Veterans Day is observed on November 11th annually to honor all military veterans who have served during peace time or at time of war in the United States Armed Forces.
Veterans Day was initially called “Armistice Day” and was to honor veterans of World War I. On November 11, 1918 at 11 AM, a temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect. A year later in 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day a legal holiday to be celebrated on November 11th each year to honor the veterans of World War I. The Act of 1938 was amended in 1954 by replacing the word “Veterans” for “Armistice” to honor all American veterans.
Veterans and non-veterans are able to take advantage Free Admission Day at the National Parks on Veterans Day.
Additionally many restaurants and other businesses offer discounts or free Veterans Day deals.
Local events in Salt Lake County recognizing our servicemen and women include:
Draper City – Veterans Day Ceremony Friday, November 9th 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Magna City – Veterans Day Parade Sunday, November 11th 11:00 AM Magna Elementary School, 3100 South 8500 West.
Utah PTA/National Guard Annual Veterans Day Concert at the Tabernacle on Temple Square, Saturday, November 10th at 7:00 PM
University of Utah’s 21st Annual Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony Schedule of Events
West Valley City – Dinner and Veterans Day Program Monday, November 12th 5:30 PM at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 West 3100 South West Valley City
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
Are you looking for something different to do this Thanksgiving besides cooking all day and eating a big meal? Whether you are a newcomer to Utah or a lifelong resident, spending the holiday alone or with house full of friends and family; here are some fun ways to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary
The 20th Annual Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner and fundraiser for the animals at Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary will be held on Saturday, November 10th at the Wasatch Elementary School, 30 R Street from 5 to 9 pm. Erika Tymrak, midfielder of the Utah Royals Soccer Team, will be the guest speaker. Also there will be plenty of great items to bid on during the silent auction. Buy tickets here
Utah Food Bank
The Utah Food Bank distributed 39.2 million pounds of food to people facing hunger in Utah during 2017. Each day, 392,000 Utahans (including many children) are at risk of missing a meal. You can help support them by donating food, time and/or money.
Donating Food: There is a virtual food drive on-line where you can fill up a grocery cart with the most needed items – with the added benefit of paying less for the items than you would at retail prices, as well as save on gas and time by doing it on-line.
Time: Last year, volunteers worked 83,418 hours. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer time as an individual, family or group at the warehouse. All volunteers must sign up in advance. Keep in mind, Thanksgiving is a popular time to volunteer, but volunteers are needed throughout the year.
Money: There are several ways to donate to the Utah Food Bank including cash, donating your used car, employers’ matching gifts, and gifts of stocks. Check their link for further details.
Utah Human Race 5K/10K
You may also want to participate in the 13th annual Utah Human Race on Thanksgiving morning (and burn some calories before your Thanksgiving meal) to support the Utah Food Bank. Registration Details
Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving Day 5K
Be part of the longest “running” Thanksgiving Day event. Strollers and dogs on leashes are welcome. Commemorative Medals awarded to participants who beat the Mayor to the finish line. Registration Details
“Thankful 13” Half Marathon / 5K / Kid’s Race
Participate in the half marathon, 5k or kid’s race on the Jordan Parkway trail in Lehi. Pumpkin pie, rolls and hot chocolate are available for participants at the end of the race. Registration Details
The Pilgrim 5K at Thanksgiving Point is a pilgrim wear costume run which includes their iconic long-sleeved cotton T-shirt and a giant buckle hat or bonnet. Pilgrim scenes can be found along the course, ending at Plymouth Rock where finishers can feast on pumpkin bars and drink apple cider. Registration Details
Fall is the ideal time to hike the Wind Cave Trail to see the colorful foliage. Driving approximately 5 miles up the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway, you will find the Wind Cave trailhead across the road from the Guinavah-Malibu Campground.
The Wind Cave is composed of a group of natural limestone arches and hollows. It was formed as water seeped through cracks in layers of underground limestone, creating caverns. Downward cutting from the Logan River exposed the caves, and the arches were created by water continuing to erode the limestone.
The trail is rated moderate with an elevation gain of approximately 1000 feet. It is 3.5 miles round trip. The elevation gain does not appear as steep due to switchbacks. The trail is well maintained and is clearly marked. If there is an unmarked trail that leads off, stick with the wider trail.
There is shade for the first half of the trail; however the last half does not have shade. It is advisable to dress in layers, wear a hat and protection from the sun. Be sure to bring plenty of water.
The trail is heavily trafficked at times, particularly during the weekends. If you prefer to hike when less people are on the trail, weekdays are a good option. Dogs on leashes are permitted.
The end of the trail leads to the top of the cave. If you have children with you, be sure to watch them carefully as there are steep drop-offs. You can climb down into the cave and explore the alcoves. It is a great place to rest in the shade of the cave and take photos of the gorgeous views.
Smokey skies from the wildfires did not discourage the volunteers who came out to clean up Antelope Island State Park on a very hot, windy day. A second group of volunteers met at the Great Salt Lake Marina State Park as part of the International Coastal Clean-Up Day.
For thirty-three years, the Ocean Conservancy has been organizing volunteers to clean up litter along their coastline. Volunteers throughout the U.S. and more than 100 countries join efforts to clean up beaches, waterways and oceans. In 2017, over 20 million pounds of trash (majority of it plastic) was picked up during the International Coastal Clean-Up Day.
Friends of Great Salt Lake organized Utah volunteers at two locations along the Great Salt Lake. Five million migrating birds representing 257 species will stop at the Great Salt Lake every year. Migratory birds are not only aesthetically beneficial to humans but have a vital role in the biodiversity for all ecosystems. They help pollinate, disperse seeds and regulate pests.
The effects from littering can have detrimental affects on birds. Discarded and rotting food can attract predators. Rats and feral cats attracted by food waste may also prey on the birds and/or their nests. Litter may lead to habitat loss, with fewer resources for nesting, feeding and shelter. Glass, plastic, fishing line and kite string can cause injuries to birds’ wings, legs, feet, or throats if entangled in them. Birds may mistake pieces of litter as food, and can suffer from digestive blockage or poisoning. Also, oil or grease could cause plumage disruption which would affect their ability to maintain proper insulation and easy flight.
Some people may believe that cleaning up the litter is an endless battle and that their effort really wouldn’t make a difference. However, just as every piece of litter that is carelessly discarded matters, the same goes for every piece of litter that is eliminated.
The Antelope Island clean-up focused on an area where shooters have been using discarded toys and electronic devices for target practice. Most electronics contain toxic materials including lead, nickel, zinc, and chromium. When released into the environment it can cause health problems to humans. Toxic materials can also seep into the groundwater affecting animals on land and in water.
The use of ammunition containing lead is discouraged. Accumulation of lead from ammunition on the lakebed will have a health impact on waterfowl.
Collected litter was weighed. Metal and toxic debris were separated from the paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and aluminum cans for proper disposal.
Within two hours, the combine efforts of hardworking volunteers were able to clear out 1000 pounds of litter.
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop.” – Rumi
Festivities to educate, explore, restore, and enjoy the Jordan River and Jordan River Parkway are scheduled throughout the month of September during the annual “Get into the River Festival”. The Jordan River flows for fifty miles through sixteen cities in three counties.
Cities along the river are hosting events such as a Pancake Breakfast/ Puncturevines Pull, canoe and kayak float, riding the river trail with the Mayor, and a Children’s Beatles Tribute Choir. Although some of these activities have already taken place, there are many more fun events still to come. Check the schedule for information on activities.
There are additional opportunities scheduled for later this month to learn about the flora and fauna; plant trees and seeds, bird watch, listen to live music, play lawn games, mud volley ball, Ducky Derby Dash or enjoy a root beer float.
Each month, approximately 15,000 people utilize the Jordan River Parkway each month for walking, running, skating, cycling and horseback riding.
Although the festival events are scheduled only during September, the Jordan River and trails are enjoyable year round.
If volunteering as an individual or with a group to help with planting, weed pulling, or picking up trash to help maintain the Jordan River is of interest to you, (typically needed between April and October) check with Jordan River Commission for upcoming opportunities.
Salt Lake City offers a diversity of vegan restaurants. If you ever wondered what a vegan eats, the SLC VegFest would give you some ideas. The 3rd annual SLC VegFest organized by the Utah Animal Rights Coalition (UARC) was held at Salt Lake City Main Library Plaza on Saturday, September 8. The event offered a kids’ area, live music, beer garden, cooking demonstration, a film showing, and expert speakers.
Vegan Panini’s, gyros, crepes, ice cream, pastries and much more was available to purchase from food trucks, bakeries and local restaurants. It was a great opportunity to try many different options all in one place.
The event is attended by thousands of people each year, and continues to grow. Many people are interested in learning more about vegan diets, whether for ethical reasons, environmental concerns, or for improving one’s health.
A Vegan Kids Panel featuring children ranging in age from 5 to 17 responded to questions about being vegan and how they handle different situations when eating at school, attending birthday parties, social events, and while traveling. They also shared their experiences when celebrating holidays, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. They offered tips about prepping food for the week, and easy food to take on the go. One of the panelists stated that a friend asked her if she just ate grass. Although none of the children ate grass, they did share what their favorite foods were, and several stated that they enjoyed preparing food at home themselves.
Whether you prefer American classics, Italian, Mexican, or Asian dishes, Salt Lake City has many vegan options for dining out. UARC has a free SLC Veg Dining Guide which can be found at many local businesses, or can be downloaded from their website. Their Dining Guide identifies restaurants that are entirely vegan, vegetarian and those are who UARC partners (providing special offers or discounts to UARC members).
From boats, trains, races, mazes and more there are lots of options for celebrating fall and Halloween. It isn’t too early to purchase tickets or to schedule these events in your calendar.
Listen to the captain tell a scary story as you ride a riverboat down the Provo River as you pass over a hundred hand-carved jack-o-lanterns. Boat ride is approximately 20 minutes long.
Take a 40 minute ride on the pumpkin train and be entertained by costumed characters.
Always wanted to run in a race, but don’t like to run? West Haven has a 0.5 K lazy man’s race on October 13, 2018. Dress in costume to enter for a prize.
A Headless Horseman begins the race at Sugarhouse Park to Emigration Canyon for a 13.13 mile challenge on October 20, 2018. There will be a costume contest as well.
Dozens of giant pumpkins weighing in at hundreds, or even a thousand pounds will set sail for a race on the North Shore of Oquirrh Lake in South Jordan on October 20, 2018. Family activities and food trucks will be available.
Visit the Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch Hayrides, Nightmare Acres and Farmers Market in Syracuse. Season opens on September 21, 2018.
Take a moonlit hayride through the haunted 156 year old barnyard in Pleasant Grove. Halloween attraction is available on Monday, Friday and Saturdays during October.
There are several maze options available. The Greatest Maze on Earth is a circus-theme maze through 8 acres of pathways. Interactive games are placed throughout the maze to challenge you. Ride a grain train through the Candy Corn Acres Maze and see scarecrow and jack-o-lantern scenes along the way. The Kiddie Maze offers the youngest maze explorers a 5 minute challenge to conquer. The Haunted Insanity Point Maze has animatronics, live spooks and surprises lurking in the corn. Be prepared to be scared.
Attractions include Corn Maze, Scarecrow Walk, Haunted River Trail, Giant Straw Fort, and Spooky Barn Ride.
Explore the Pumpkin Pirate Cove, Maravilla Lane, Pumpkin Reef, Spider Alley, Forbidden Pumpkin City, Great Pumpkin Hall, Monster Mash and Pumpkin Passage and see over 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins at the Utah State Fairpark. Be entertained by pumpkin artists, performers, and fire dancers.
Animal and magician show, haunted house, crafts, games, and Trick or Treat Street. October 27, 2018.
A 45-day celebration of witches including Breakfast with a witch, a Witches 5K Run/Walk, Six Hags Witches Adventure, Witch in the Kitchen cooking and much more. See link for schedule of events.
Lighted displays at the zoo, take a train ride at night, explore a labyrinth-themed maze with puppets, and see ‘Spiderella’.
Wear your Halloween costumes to This Is the Place Heritage Park to go trick-or-treating, visit the story telling witch, take a train ride, pony ride and make take-home crafts. (October 13, 18, 19, 20 & 27th).
Light displays, games and crafts. (October 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27th)
The performances include Thriller, The Curse of the Mummy, Dem Bones, Frankenstein, Jason Jam, Salem’s Mass, The Lost Boys, The River of Blood Dance and more.
Cascade Springs, accessed from the Alpine Scenic Loop drive, offers an easy stroll alongside of cascading springs through limestone terraces. The lower trail at Cascade Springs is wheel chair accessible; the paved paths, wooden bridges and raised boardwalks make it easy to navigate with strollers, young children or anyone with limited abilities. The higher trail does include stairs which may hinder access to some. There are three interconnected trail loops; each would take approximately 15 minutes to walk.
It is a beautiful nature walk with a diverse ecosystem and interpretive signs identify some of the species of plants, trees and wildlife in the area. Take a seat on one of the benches and take in the sound of the water flowing. Over seven million gallons of water flow through the springs each day. The pools contain trout and you may see them swimming among the reeds, but fishing is not permitted. A variety of birds and mammals may be spotted, including songbirds, hawks, wild turkeys, beavers, deer and moose.
To see an abundance of flowers it is best to visit Cascade Springs between June and September. Fall colors from Aspen, Oak and Maple trees are best seen during September and October. The road to the trail will be closed during winter months due to snow.
How to get there:
Take the Highland/Alpine exit (Exit 284) from I-15. Travel east on State Route 92 to the Forest Service entrance station (approximately 8 miles). Cascade Springs is part of the Uinta National Forest and a fee is required to park in the American Fork Canyon. At the present time, a three day pass is $6. Weekly or annual passes are also available. They also accept the America the Beautiful Interagency Parks Pass.
Continue up American Fork Canyon on SR-92 (Alpine Loop Scenic Byway) for approximately 17 miles until you reach the Cascade Scenic Drive. The road to Cascade Springs goes left after you reach the summit. The Alpine Scenic Loop road is very narrow with switch backs that are very tight. Parking is available at the upper and lower trailheads.
Restrooms and drinking water is available. Dogs on leashes are permitted.