Summer for everyone: North Valley


Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is moving to Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point this September.

“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.

Timp’s Tall Tales

One of the largest storytelling gatherings in the world, the Timp Storytelling Festival brings characters from around the nation to Utah Valley. Between award-winning storytellers, the stage fills with live music and puppet performances.

Daytime events are held in the beautiful Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point while evening events spread to The Show Barn and Electric Park.

When: Sept. 7-9

So You Think You Can?

Dance helps children express themselves, develop friendships and remain active and healthy. The Dance Academy in Lehi offers a variety of classes for movers of all ages and skill levels. In addition to competition teams and a full slate of fall classes, the Dance Academy also offers four-week classes in June.

A favorite is the Fairytale Ballet Class on Wednesdays (ages 3-5) that features a new princess every week. June classes also include jazz, ballet and tumbling. Registration for the June classes opens May 1.

When: Class times vary

Polynesian Days is in Lehi in September.

Act Neighborly

The smaller the town, the better the parade. (Isn’t that what they say?) The parade for the Cedar Hills Family Festival is full of neighbors waving to neighbors, celebration of all things community, and is short enough that you can get to other activities before your child is starving, hot or bored.

The city festival also includes pickleball and golf tournaments, geocaching, free children’s games and other activities all culminating in the fireworks spectacular on June 3, at Mesquite Park, adjacent to the Cedar Hills golf course.

When: May 30–June 3

Street Meat Feast

While a number of food trucks rally throughout the valley, one easy way to get your dinner on wheels is to follow the Food Truck League. This association coordinates more than 120 food trucks for events around Utah. Tip! Try Clark’s Malasadas, which brings the aloha spirit to our backyard. Wait … you don’t know what a malasada is? Spoiler alert! You’re gonna love it.

When: Ongoing

Shop ‘Til You Drop

You don’t have to wait until August to start back-to-school shopping. You also don’t have to bring the kids at all. Whether a family outing or a mom’s-day-out, the Outlets at Traverse Mountain offers discount access to favorites including Banana Republic, American Eagle, H&M, J Crew and Tommy Hilfiger.

Drop dad off at nearby Cabela’s and then meet up for lunch at one of the many new restaurants dotting the east side of Exit 284.

When: Ongoing

The Final Frontier

Does your child enjoy the thrill and challenge of video games? And do you also want to get him out of the house to interact with others?

Consider the Discovery Space Center in Pleasant Grove. This space simulation center allows participants to complete a space mission in a “choose your own adventure” style. It’s part science, part video game and part organizational behavior experiment.

Oh, and it’s a blast (off).

When: Ongoing

The Fairy Tale Festival is set in fairytale location at Thanksgiving Point.

Once Upon A Fairytale

Don’t tell the kids, but they might learn something at this mid-summer celebration of fairies, magic and the history behind some of our favorite folk tales. Throw in the chance to meet characters from these amazing stories — all set in the beautiful Ashton Gardens — and the Fairy Tale Festival is fun for the characters in the whole family.

When: June 24

Classes on the Green

Gina Higbee started golfing at age 12 and quickly became one of Utah’s best, eventually serving as team captain and No. 1 golfer at Idaho State University, where she led the Bengals to a Big Sky Conference championship. Now, she dedicates her time to teaching young golfers at the Gina Higbee Golf Academy. Besides offering private golf lessons and junior clinics, Gina is involved in the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, designed for girls ages 4 to 17 to learn to play golf and develop lifelong friendships.

When: Ongoing

Summer Spelunking

American Fork Canyon is rich in things to do and places to explore. Perhaps the crown jewel is Timpanogos Cave, which is a national monument operated by the National Park Service and includes a visitor’s center.

Explore the cave, learn the history of the area and appreciate the legends associated with Timpanogos. Tours are open through the summer and fall.

When: Ongoing

Take a swim in Jell-O at JiggleFest.

Shoot from the Chute

The longest continuous running rodeo in Utah, the Strawberry Days Rodeo in Pleasant Grove is the highlight of the city festival and draws some of the best athletes in the sport. Strawberry Days also includes a parade, carnival and a good, ol’ fashioned pie-eating contest.

When: June 14–17


υυIf plunking your daughter’s ukulele doesn’t give you enough of the South Pacific, consider Polynesian Days over Labor Day weekend. Held in Thanksgiving Point’s Electric Park, the event highlights all things island. From food, costumes, music and dancing, the festival embraces the rich Polynesian influence in Utah Valley.

When: Sept. 1–6

Sounds of the Islands

υυInstruments come in and out of fashion just like hairstyles and skirt lengths. And the ukulele is on trend! The Utah Uke Festival at Highland Community Center includes classes, jams, open mics and ukulele music.

When: June 24

Lights. Camera. Action.

A number of communities sponsor an occasional movie in the park, but Thanksgiving Point hosts a weekly flick each Friday night of the summer starting July 7. The Outdoor Movie Series is held in the Ashton Gardens and is free to Thanksgiving Point members. Bring a blanket and spend a night with favorites such as Nacho Libre (July 7), Trolls (July 28) or Moana (Aug. 11).

When: July 7, 14, 21, 28, Aug. 4, & 11

The Utah Symphony makes musical magic under the stars at Thanksgiving Point on June 28.

Moonlight Maestro

The Utah Symphony is symptastic. And under the stars and the waterfall at Thanksgiving Point, the Utah Symphony is downright magical.

This year’s concert is June 28, and the Utah Symphony will be joined by award-winning trio GENTRI. The Utah Symphony is one of America’s major orchestras and is known internationally for its distinctive performances. The symphony is made up of 85 full-time professional musicians. The 77-year-old group performs 175 concerts each season, but nowhere will the scenery be as beautifully in sync than with this outdoor concert.

When: June 28

No Carrots Needed

Mom always says, “Don’t play with your food.” Throw that old wives’ tale aside at the JiggleFest — a celebration of Utah’s unofficial favorite food. Embrace the mess, dive into small pools of Jell-O and make sure everyone leaves green. Don’t worry. You also get to run through the sprinklers to clean off.

(Truthfully, we’re not sure how mom would feel about that part, either.)

When: July 22

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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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