Festivals to wake you from your winter’s nap
By Megan Wagstaff
By March, signs of spring are all around, and “Here Comes the Sun” is now Utah’s theme song. Those waxy bulbs pushing up through the damp soil have us chiming with The Beatles: “It’s all right.”
Longer hours of daylight signal the beginning of festival season (no, we’re not talking about Coachella). Around the world, Northern Hemisphere folk mark the end of a long, dreary winter with all manner of celebrations, some centuries-old and others new or “just because.”
Here in the Beehive, March is loaded to the gills with frolicking good times, from the Hostler 2020 Model Railroad Festival at Ogden’s Union Station March 6-8 to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Siamsa in downtown Salt Lake City on March 14.
But wait, there’s more. So much more, in fact, that there’s a veritable rite of spring for each weekend. We’ve created a lineup of March festivals not to be missed (along with lodging and dining tips), all to help you emerge from your winter hibernation.
Spring Gruv Starts March 7 • Park City
Skyrockets in Flight
Aprés gets a lot more lively come springtime, and at Park City’s Spring Gruv, the whole family gets in on the fun. Every weekend, March 7 through April 5, Canyons Village is alit by light and fireworks displays, glow sticks, live music, outdoor movies, donuts and cocoa. You can even meet the avalanche dogs, and it’s all free to the public. Warmer, longer days mean the festivities keep going long after last chair.
Park City Mountain
4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City
If you’re going to play in the Canyons Village you may as well stay in the Canyons Village. The Silverado Lodge saves you a few bucks by being shuttle-distance from the action (about 100 yards). Easily request a pick-up via app to get you, the kids and your skis back to the room without having to worry about dropped gloves or errant ski poles. The Silverado also features a year-round heated pool and hot tub, free Wi-Fi and heated underground parking.
2669 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City
The Spice of Life
While there are plenty of eateries in the Canyons Village, those in the know make sure to stop at El Chubasco, a Park City locals’ favorite. Enjoy traditional Mexican grub—tacos, tamales and burritos—topped with your choice of 20 homestyle salsas from the salsa bar. Test your limits with the spicy serrano frito or take it down a notch with the salsa de arbol or popular cilantro crema. Pro tip: if you’re heading to Deer Valley concerts come summer, pick up El Chubasco to-go. Everything is better with tacos!
1890 Bonanza Drive, Ste. 115, Park City
New Kid in Town
Newly opened Woodward Park City resort is an adventure-lovers dream for kids (or adults of any age). Skiers and boarders can choose from a variety of progressive terrain parks or opt for a family sled day—Woodward has the longest tubing lanes in the state. Those opposed to the cold can still play in the Action Sports Hub: 66,000 square feet of skate parks, trampolines, foam pits and parkour obstacles. With prices well below what you’ll find at other Park City area resorts, get in before the secret gets out.
Woodward Park City
3863 Kilby Road, Park City
Skinny Tire Festival March 14-17 • Moab
If you’ve been staring longingly at your bike shorts in the bottom dresser drawer all winter long, the 20th Skinny Tire Festival is your chance to join fellow cyclists along some of the prettiest routes in the state. Choose from four scenic bike rides along the Colorado River, Dead Horse Point State Park and Arches National Park (space limited for Arches). Rides even include lunch. The festival runs March 14-17 in Moab, and $25 of each registration goes to the Moab Cancer Center.
Skinny Tire Festival
Burgers on Main
When it’s time for post-pedal provisions, head to The Spoke on Center, a bike-themed eatery occupying Main Street’s historic Cooper-Martin Building, serving up scratch-made burgers with a variety of gourmet options like smoked Gouda, goat cheese, spinach, garlic mayo and portabella mushrooms. Build your own or order the Caprese burger for a unique Italian twist topped with balsamic-basted tomato and fresh basil. A side of Macaroni Poppers is a must: homemade mac ’n’ cheese stuffed with fresh jalepeño, breaded and fried, served with ranch for dipping.
The Spoke on Center
5 N. Main, Moab
Camping in Moab is an annual rite of passage for any true Utahn, but after a long day on two wheels, a comfortable bed might beat out sleeping under the stars. The best compromise is to book a rustic room at Red Cliffs Lodge alongside the Colorado River. Just far enough from town to offer the relaxation you crave, but close enough that you can pop in for dinner or a spare bike tube. Red Cliffs Lodge is also attached to Castle Creek Winery—which offers daily tastings—and The Cowboy Grill, with a stocked breakfast buffet so you can fuel up before your ride. Did we mention they offer bike storage?
Red Cliffs Lodge
Milepost 14, Utah Highway 128, Moab, 866-812-2002
The Call of the Canyon
Take a break from two wheels to walk around on two feet exploring the Grandstaff Canyon trail. Often overlooked for the more popular Corona Arch trail and hikes around the nearby national parks, Grandstaff Canyon is ideal in spring when temps are cooler and the spring runoff feeds its perennial stream. Four miles round trip, this moderate hike culminates at Morning Glory Natural Bridge, the sixth longest natural rock span in the U.S. Follow the stream for 1½ miles before crossing it and heading into the second side canyon on your left. The bridge is a half-mile farther.
Grandstaff Canyon Trail
Utah State Highway 128, near mile marker 3, Moab
Ogden Spring Beer Festival March 21 • Ogden
Froth and Foam
Is there ever a bad time for a beer festival? Arguably no, but after a long and dreary winter, a hoppy adult beverage at the Ogden Spring Beer Festival is a welcome libation. Held in historic Union Station, tickets are $20 and include 3 tastings and a food item, March 21, 5-9 p.m. Choose between offerings from Utah brewers, local chefs, and restaurants while enjoying DJs and live performances. Plus, Ogden Adventure Race will be onsite featuring a variety of outdoor vendors.
Ogden Spring Beer Fest
2501 Wall Avenue, Ogden
Pregame for the Spring Beer Festival is at Ogden’s Own Distillery, creator of Utah spirits with sassy names like 5 Wives Vodka and Porter’s Fire. The still is open for tastings on Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and is about eight blocks from the beer festival—close enough for walking or booking an affordable Lyft or Uber ride. Bottles and mixers are both available for purchase, should you decide a cocktail hour at the hotel is in order.
Ogden’s Own Distillery
3075 Grant Ave.,
Comfort at the Courtyard
A mere two blocks from Union Station, book a room at Courtyard by Marriott. Checkout time isn’t until noon, so there’s no rush to get up if you decided to keep the party going after the beer festival (and there’s a Starbucks, because hangovers are no time to experiment with new coffee). Should you choose to get some powder turns at Snowbasin or Powder Mountain on Saturday—the hotel also offers ski storage and an indoor pool/hot tub for an aprés soak.
Courtyard by Marriott
247 24th St., Ogden
Fuel for the Trip Home
With a lengthy list of brunch options, Jeremiah’s Restaurant hits all the spots, regardless of what you’re craving. The Western Sizzler is a crowd favorite: hash browns topped with ham, onions, melted cheddar, tomatoes, mushrooms and two eggs with a fluffy biscuit on the side. For a more health-conscious option, Jeremiah’s Raisin Nut French Toast clocks just 336 calories and 12 grams of protein.
1307 W. 12th St., Ogden
Holi Festival of Colors March 28-29 * Spanish Fork
In Living Color
Festival of Colors comes to Spanish Fork March 28 and 29 at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple. With tickets as low as $6.50, this might be the most budget friendly festival you’ve ever attended. Two stages feature a variety of musical and dance performances daily—think sitars, mantras and bollypop—and yoga classes are offered throughout the duration of the festival, included with admission. Most importantly, every hour there will be color throws to mark Holi, the Indian celebration of spring. Purchase colors at the event for $3/bag or in advance when you register. No outside colors allowed.
Holi Festival of Colors
311 W. 8500 South, Spanish Fork
Burgers on Main, Part Deux
After the Festival of Colors, you’ll be too messy for most restaurants. Then again, most restaurants aren’t as good as Glade’s Drive Inn, so why bother? Open seven days a week—a rarity in Utah County—nosh on “supercheese” burgers, crinkle-cut fries and homemade shakes (raspberry chocolate chip, anyone?), or dig into the popular fish and chips with sides of Glade’s white fry sauce and tartar. If it’s been around since 1954 and is still the best place in town, you know Glade’s is doing something right.
Glade’s Drive Inn
296 S. Main,
Check That Chalk
Take your drive-thru dinner and head to Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham. What Spanish Fork lacks in boutique hotels, it makes up for in convenient, budget-friendly options that check off the basics: free Wi-Fi to post all your festival pics on Instagram, free continental breakfast, and (most importantly) shower/tub combos to wash off all that colored chalk. Because this hotel is a new build, expect clean rooms and modern finishes. Bonuses: If a warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in and a heated indoor pool aren’t reason enough to book a room, then how about the fact that you’re only a three-minute drive to Strap Tank Brewery, a motorcycle themed brewpub (one of only a few in Utah County).
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham
535 S. 2000 West, Springville
While you’re at the festival Sunday (hours are shorter than Saturday), set aside time to check out Utah Valley Llamas, a llama farm on the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple property. If you bring baby carrots or apple slices, you can feed the llamas for free. Tours are also offered for $20 per person, plus a $2 donation for hay. Group discounts are available. In addition to llamas, the property is also home to sacred cows, parrots, peacocks and koi.
Utah Valley Llamas
311 W. 8500 South, Spanish Fork