In my household, we don’t talk about the Utah Arts Festival. It’s The Earring Festival.
So, obviously, I’m a regular at the festival. I haven’t missed more than a couple of them in my 27 years in Utah.
Thursday marked my first time, however, attending on opening day. The driving force behind that decision was to see one of my favorites, singer/songwriter James McMurtry, performing on one of the festival stages in the evening.
It turned out to be a fine choice regardless of the musical aspects. The evening temperatures were pleasant, far superior to that year when Saturday hit 106 degrees and my husband was putting unflavored shaved ice in his shirt pockets.
And the crowds were less dense, the people more laid-back. Which made for excellent earring browsing opportunities.
Suffice to say, I am famous in my small circle for my earring shopping — on vacations, at art festivals, fur trade rendezvous, even gun shows ...
Despite still feeling guilty about acquiring four pairs in the past two weeks — two of those at the Ogden Arts Festival — I did score a new pair of earrings, a summery rhubarb-colored set.
That alone made it a satisfying trip.
Plus, we got to see masked puppet-like characters on stilts, members of the Dragon Knights, walking silently through the crowd.
I ate lemon gelato while overhearing a folk song about 16 marijuana plants causing the death of an Ogden law enforcement officer.
And, I’d wager, we saw more tattoos per square inch of female flesh than at any other Utah arts event. (That’s not a derogatory statement: Many of these were beautiful tattoos. I am a pro-tattoo kind of gal.)
We got to hear McMurtry’s extended “Choctaw Bingo.”
The highlight of the night, though, in my opinion: Mike Farris and his Roseland Rhythm Revue in a hand-clapping, foot-stomping version of “Mary Don’t You Weep” — complete with a tuba solo.