Southern Utah News Articles
An 'Event Full' week
The Kanab area has had a busy week! Three very different events were held May 14-21, offering a veritable smorgasbord of activities. There was something for everyone!
2017 marked the eleventh annual Amazing Earthfest. Held May 14-20, the Amazing Earthfest is a public festival celebrating land and life on the Colorado Plateau.
Event founder and Director Rich Csenge said he was gratified with the quality offerings and attendance at this year’s event. “Our numbers were good, especially at the documentaries,” said Csenge. “Over 275 people attended the films.”
This year’s Amazing Earthfest featured 40 events, many taught or directed by professionals in the subject field. “We were especially delighted with the participation and leadership by the Bureau of Land Management and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument,” said Csenge. “They produced seven outdoor adventure, service and learning opportunities.”
Csenge praised the Kane County Volunteer Center for its help in providing assistance and volunteer manpower in setting up the many different activities. He said that Amazing Earthfest also had help from outside the area, with volunteers coming from around the state as well as Arizona and Nevada. “Jim Goodloe, of Rachel, Nevada, said that he found Amazing Earthfest fascinating, and really liked the educational theme of it.”
The Invocation to Sustainability held at Angel’s Landing outdoor amphitheater at Best Friends May 14 was an Amazing Earthfest highlight, according to the Director. “Kate Jewel of Springdale performed a piano composition she wrote in honor of Amazing Earthfest,” said Csenge. “The program was moving and a great way to start the week’s events.”
Amazing Earthfest attendees came from near and far, and for a variety of reasons. Be it education, recreation or admiration, those who did attend left with a better appreciation and understanding of this beautiful area.
And then there’s Brian and Linda Gagely of Miami, Florida! They contacted Csenge prior to the event, wanting information on activities, lodging, etc. “They said for Brian’s 50th birthday, they wanted to take an epic adventure,” shared Csenge. “They are serious bike riders, so they flew their own bikes here, rented a car and stayed for the week. They went with us on the 35 mile ride on the Grand Staircase.”
With night skies the primary theme of this year’s Amazing Earthfest, Csenges was pleased there were seven astronomy events. “That included a demonstration for Kanab Elementary School that reached 300 school children. Bryce Canyon National Park Interpretive Ranger Todd Cullings provided a solar telescope for students to observe solar flares, etc.”
“The festival passed a milestone this year, moving into the second decade of our successful educational festival,” said Csenge. “Because of our collaborative, experiential/ educational focus, it’s unlike any other I know of around the Intermountain West. Among the many benefits to the community beyond just its economic impact is that it helps connect local residents in Kanab with others who share common values of love for nature and America’s public lands, a desire to learn more about them, and how to live in closer harmony with the natural world.”
“It’s such an inspiring series of events that I feel that it has a very profound effect and does a great deal to help us re-connect with the natural world, which is exactly what is needed,” said Sharon St. Joan.
The Greyhound Gathering brought the sleek hounds and their adoring fans together for a three day celebration May 19-21.
“It was bigger and better than ever,” said Greyt Greyhound Guru Claudia Presto. The Kanab resident has been in love with the breed for years, and was understandably upset upon first discovering that greyhounds were often euthanized after the racing careers were over. She decided to do something about that!
Presto became involved in greyhound rescue in 1987, and started the 501c3 Greyhound Gang in Kanab in 1995.
The group pairs the skinny ex-racers with devoted humans. The animals and owners enjoy a mutual admiration relationship beneficial to all involved! Between 1996-2001, she has adopted out over 100 hounds!
Presto then transitioned into education and fundraising for the Greyhound cause. Greyhound Gang has raised and donated almost $900,000 in cash and in-kind donations!
As for the fun and popular ‘Greyhound Gathering’ she created, Presto has been running the successful event in Kanab for 15 years! The Gathering features a fun weekend of education, events and camaraderie.
And the Greyhound Gathering is a big deal to the community, as well as the dogs and humans involved! This year there were 187 registered guests, accompanied by their 153 greyhounds. The majority of participants stayed four days, with some hanging here over five. Lodging establishments, restaurants and local businesses, benefitted ‘greytly!’
According to Presto, the weekend went well. (Read her Letter to the Editor!)
“We had 18 events that practically went dawn to dusk on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Presto. “The Pugh Canyon hike was awesome and we always have fun at the Blur of Fur when the greyhounds and humans race.”
After a warm welcome offered by Kanab City Mayor Robert Houston to those in attendance, Presto said the opening get-together featured a salute to the oldest greyhounds. The event king was Menlo, accompanied by owner Katy Haas of Denver, Colorado. The queen was Sancerre, with owner Dana Provost of Las Vegas, Nevada.
As with most Greyhound Gatherings, Presto’s favorite event is the Saturday parade. It’s really quite a kick when you see hounds and humans dressed up in coordinated costumes, prancing to the tunes of ‘Who Let the Dogs Out,’ or ‘You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog!’
Presto said the parade entrants were gaily dressed, with flashy, creative costumes. “One I liked was a dog named Ebon. The dog and owners were dressed up as s’mores, with a sign that read, ‘everyday our love for each other grows s’more and s’more.’”
Not to be outdone, there were Little Boho Peep, Trolls, and ‘Nuns on the Run.’ “That was a group of seven dogs with their owners from Sedona, AZ,” explained Presto, “all dressed in nun’s habits. Everyone had a good time!”
UT/AZ ATV Fun Run
The UT/AZ ATV Club had perfect weather for their annual Fun Run held last Saturday, May 21. The event is actually a three day affair for those who want more time than just Saturday’s ride to enjoy the amazing trails in the area. Several hundred ATV enthusiasts showed up for the ride up Hog Canyon.
The staging area for the event was behind the old middle school, in the parking lot and old football field. After the ride, a drawing was held for many prizes and gift certificates donated by local businesses and individuals. A great time was had by all.