Written by Heather Hymas
“Food, Family, and Fun in a low cost environment” is the slogan for this year’s Southern Utah Culinary Arts Festival. The festival will be held at Vernon Worthen Park on Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25, running from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. both days. This will be the festival’s third year of showcasing and promoting local businesses. The Southern Utah Culinary Festival is only open to local businesses in the community; there are no chain stores or out-of-town companies allowed. The festival will also feature entertainment—both for adults and kids—and booths for shopping.
All vendors at the festival will offer samples of their culinary art for either $1 or $2. It’s a great way to try out new restaurants in town or to support the ones you already love. In addition to the tastings, Wingnutz, 25 Main, and Teriyaki Grill will be sponsoring eating challenges on the main stage on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The eating challenges will be a way to win prizes, get dirty, and have fun. The festival will give away over 100 gift certificates as well as other prizes and merchandise from local businesses throughout the two days. Come and participate in fun activities and other contests to win prizes.
The festival is the creation of Adam Stuart and his company, Prime Time Promotions. Besides offering residents a taste of local fare, one of the main purposes of the Southern Utah Culinary Festival is to keep dollars coming back into our community. Stuart has a vision and a mission to adjust where the money is spent in southern Utah. He thinks that local dollars should be spent at local businesses rather than big corporations.
“When we give back to the community—the people we love and care about—that creates more for everyone,” Stuart said. “I was raised on a small family business, and I have always had a bleeding heart for what these people do. They work really hard, sometimes 50 to 60 hours a week, working tirelessly to provide not only a valuable service for the community but also for their own families … We need to support the little guy. They have the most courage, take the biggest risks, and have the fewest resources. Most of them already have the deck stacked against them from the get-go. Local first, buy local.”
Stuart is inviting community members to “come for an hour, and leave with a new hit-list of local restaurants you want to visit.”
In addition to food, the 2015 Southern Utah Culinary Festival is also showcasing local musicians and other performers. Both days include a line-up of local talent you won’t want to miss, culminating with a headlining band both days at 5 p.m. Friday will feature local favorite Soul What!?—an amazing blend of funk and soul. Saturday will feature Sauny J., a high energy crowd pleaser. Also on Saturday, West Side Studio will offer a dance performance at 1 p.m. All of the performances during the festival are free to the public.
Don’t forget to bring the kids as well. The festival will include a Kid Zone sponsored by St. George FUN that is sure to please, with four bounce houses as well as other fun activities to keep even the most energetic of attendees busy. St. George FUN will also supply several adult attractions for the young at heart.
If the food, culinary art, live music, performances, activities, and prize giveaways are not enough to bring you to the festival, there will also be retail booths for those who wish to shop. All the vendors will be partners from the community.
If you have attended the event in the past, Stuart says you will be in for some new surprises.
“The event just keeps getting bigger and better,” Stuart said.
For more information on the Southern Utah Culinary Festival, including an event schedule and a list of the vendors, visit www.suculinaryfestival.com.