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The City Journals

SoJo Summerfest: bring out the whole family

Jun 21, 2017 04:07PM ● By Keyra Kristoffersen

Families cheer for the South Jordan Fire Department as they toss candy during the parade. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | [email protected]

Among all community events, the big event for South Jordan every year is the SoJo Summerfest, and 2017 did not disappoint. 

“We love this,” said Nicole Larsen. “This is actually the second year that we’ve come. “I think it brings comradery to the community, and I think it brings people together.”

The festivities began May 31 with a Kick Off Party at Mulligans Golf & Games and continued through that weekend with a concert by the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra and Car Seat Check hosted at Fire Station #61 where the city police department could help advise parents on proper car seat handling on Thursday. A Movie in the Park at Heritage Park showing of “The Secret Life of Pets” was held on Friday.

“It’s a great thing,” attendee Tom Stubbs said, “It gives people a place to go, a sense of community. It’s nice.”

Saturday morning started bright and early with the Summerfest 5k and Kid’s Fun Run 1 Mile, the fourth in the South Jordan annual race series. While the race was happening in their neighborhoods, South Jordan residents and the surrounding communities left their homes in order to pick out the perfect spot from which to partake of the sights and candy of the Summerfest Parade.

“The people in the parade and the people watching the parade all seemed really friendly to me,” said Katrina David. “It made the parade seem less like some huge production you might see footage of on TV, and more personal. I got to see people I knew.”

Huge brightly colored floats from South Jordan, Murray, Cottonwood Heights and Riverton drove past, showcasing the artistic talents of their respective cities, as well as their personal mottos, all while their crowned royalty waved and smiled at the audience.

Many local leaders, both in office and future potentials, came out to wave and show their faces while tossing candy at happy children. Others in the parade included members of the Utah National Guard, SWAT, fire and sheriff departments.

The 7–12 grade Patriots from the Paradigm Charter Schools in South Jordan came out to play music as they marched along in the school colors. Demonstrations from local classes and groups also showcased what they had been working on for the audience with martial arts moves, dancing, baton twirling and BMX stunts.

A carnival with all of the classic rides and games was available most days and included a Kids Zone free of charge, where kids could try their strength swinging a mallet or climb a rock wall.

A vendor market and food trucks of various types also lined up.

“I do love me some fair food,” said Kaitlin Youd, the customer service supervisor for the Fitness & Aquatic Center. “You can eat it somewhere else, but it just doesn’t taste as good.”

Lines of classic and new cars brought out automobile enthusiasts by the dozen to admire rumbling engines, sleek fins and antique chrome.

Grady Perkins heard about the car show and decided to bring out his 1970 Torino GT convertible for the first time.

“The first time I drove this car, I was 18,” Perkins said. “It belonged to my girlfriend’s dad.” The car was covered and placed in storage for 35 years before a trip to New Mexico brought it and Perkins back together again.

“All the chrome is the original chrome,” he said. “I put new wheels and tires and painted it, but the rest is the original, the way they made it 47 years ago.”

A skate competition brought riders out to show their stuff, while a BMX show put on by 5050BMX delighted kids and adults with over-the-top stunts and death-defying action.

“I’ve been to the show before, so I knew I liked it,” said one young BMX enthusiast, Brayden Hansen. “I wanted to come again.”

Since it was a free day at the Fitness & Aquatic Center, many lined up to enjoy their pool and splash pad, including a group of mermaids. Children had the opportunity to swim with mermaids and get their pictures taken with them as well as create their own mermaid fins in an arts and crafts room.

The whole festival concluded with a local Battle of the Bands concert and fireworks show.

Teddi Stubbs, former Chairman of the Board for the South Jordan Chamber of Commerce, detailed the beginnings of the Summerfest and how it started with the creation of the Farmer’s Market and just grew out from there into this huge event.

“It brings people out, promotes unity,” he said. “It’s interaction; it’s an important part of life. Contacting with your neighbors—they might not live in your neighborhood, but it’s just people talking about what they’re doing, and you learn and listen.”