Summer of everyone: South Valley


Rowley’s Red Barn in Santaquin, Utah serves up fresh eats.

“I’m bored.”

Those are the most dreaded words a parent can hear from non-pupilous children during the 99 days of summer. Put away the sigh and the eyeroll (we’re talking about yours) and check out 47 ideas divided geographically. No matter which part of the county you sip lemonade, you’ll have new ideas at your fingertips.

Farm Fresh

A visit down to Rowley’s Red Barn in Santaquin is the perfect end to a summer day. In addition to fresh fruit, delicious nuts, and popcorn, the Red Barn houses a fountain full of ice cream, slushes and shakes that cool off a hot, summer day.

When: Ongoing

Makin’ Music

Enjoy free music from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Payson’s Memorial Park on Main Street. The Nebo MusicFest features local musicians and bands.

When: Aug. 26

The Springville Museum of Art has multiple exhibits.

Great Scot!

The 33rd annual Highland Games held as part of the Payson Scottish Festival calls back to the roots of many Utah Valley-ites with Scottish heritage. Dancing, athletics competitions, and pipe and drum bands give Scotland — and Payson — a distinct flavor.

When: July 7-8

Fore Reals

Utah Valley is speckled with world-class golf courses, but the mountain majesties at Gladstan are something to behold. The challenging course is full of rolling fairways and strategically placed hazards. Bring the kids and pass the love of golf onto the next generation.

When: Ongoing

Picture This! 

BYU isn’t the only local top-tier art museum in town. The Springville Museum of Art has been highlighting the work of local artists since being dedicated by David O. McKay as Utah’s first art museum in 1937. This summer, the museum is hosting an exhibit — “George Beard – Mormon Pioneer Artist with a Camera” — based on the source photography of early Mormon pioneer and artist George Beard. George Beard simply looked at his photography as reference for his paintings, but the photos are now appreciated for the art they offer in their own right. The exhibit runs from now until June 17.

When: Ongoing

Winning the Blue Ribbon

Nothing says summer like a nice county fair. The Utah County variety — held at the Spanish Fork Rodeo Grounds — is a nostalgic end to the summer. (It also reminds parents that the kids will start school soon. #wemadeit)

The Utah County Fair features all of the entertaining events you would expect, including a tractor pull, a demolition derby, main stage entertainment and the Miss Utah County pageant. It also might be the last chance of the summer to eat delicious fair food. (Corn dog, anyone?)

When: Aug. 16-19

From Truck to Table

The first Mormon settlers from Salt Lake into Utah Valley were mostly farmers. Over time, southern Utah Valley continued to hold onto the agricultural economy. Now, the Spanish Fork-Salem Chamber of Commerce sponsors a farmer’s market that allows local farmers to deliver fresh goods to local residents. Starting July 30 and ending Nov. 5, the Spanish Fork Farmer’s Market fills the parking lot west of city hall with trucks, trailers and tents full of freshly picked produce.

When: Every Saturday starting July 30

Wayne Bartholomew Park in Springville, Utah has a lake with a beach.

Life is Just Beachy

Wayne Bartholomew Family Park is the new jewel of Springville and has plenty of beach and grass area for families to spread out and enjoy the summer sun. Larger groups can use one of the five pavilions for “home base” while they take advantage of the beautiful, three-acre swimming pond, concession stand, trail and plaza.

When: Ongoing

Hook the Family

If you want your ponds of the more natural and historic variety, consider visiting Salem Pond. In the heart of town, Salem Pond is a favorite fishing spot for families around the valley and beyond. The grassy area surrounding the pond gives it a park-like feel. Ongoing

When: Ongoing

Food, Family & Fireworks

Besides hosting one of the best rodeos in the state, Spanish Fork Fiesta Days is a fortnight of family fun. Parades, carnivals, movie nights, street dances, food, talent shows and cute baby contests mean there is something for everyone.

A highlight for young children is the Activities in the Park event, held on Saturday, July 22. Young children can watch the children’s parade, then hit the activity tent for free activities that leave them with a bagful of goodies and a heart overflowing with memories.

When: July 15 to July 29

A Taste of India

The Holi Festival of Colors at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork has become a springtime tradition for Utah Valley residents. This August, the temple hosts Krishna Janmastami, a holiday full of Indian dance, drama, musical concerts, hot meals, exhibits and gifts. This holiday for Hindus compares to Christmas Day.

When: Aug. 27

Scenic Byway Living

With Payson Lakes, Ponderosa Campground and more hikes than you can count, Payson Canyon has activities perfect for an hour, a day or a week.

If you’re looking for a short, easy and rewarding hike that children of all ages can enjoy, hit the Grotto Trail. The hike is about 30 minutes and has a huge payoff. A beautiful waterfall drops into a small pool of water, bringing a dramatic turnaround spot the kids love.

Hit one of the picnic areas on the way back out of the canyon for lunch and you have an adventure your kids will remember all summer.

When: Ongoing

International Language of Dance

For 31 years, Springville has hosted folk dancers and musicians from countries around the world at the annual World Folkfest, which has grown to become one of the largest festivals of folk dance and music in the United States. The World Folkfest features approximately 250 performers dressed in the brilliantly colored costumes of their native lands with groups coming from countries including Columbia, Georgia, Austria, Indonesia, Taiwan, Romania and Kenya.

When: July 31 to Aug. 5

Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett is an editor and writer with Bennett Communications. His primary responsibilities are with Utah Valley Magazine and the company's custom publications division. He's the father of four children and has been married to his wife, Adria, for 19 years. Contact Greg at

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