Project Summer: Things to Do in Utah County for Free or Almost Free
by Lauren Kay Weber
I’ve been dyyyyying to get out of town for awhile now. There’s something in me that has just screamed vacation. I blame it on all the emails I have been getting from What to Expect When You’re Expecting and BabyCenter.com touting the awesome benefits of having a babymoon before a newborn comes into our lives. That hasn’t been feasible for us, so I’ve been itching for the next best thing: the summeriest of summer activities to make me feel like I’m not missing out.
So, Josh and I are living on a deadline. Perhaps the word deadline isn’t quite right, but we are acutely aware that things are gonna be a-changing once baby Asher comes our way. With that in mind, accompanied by the fact that we’re living on a bit of a budget at the moment, I’ve compiled a whole list of summer-y things to do between now and then… and maybe even nearing the very end of summer, when it’ll be okay to take Asher into public. I didn’t want to keep all of the fun to myself, so I thought that I would share it here. We found a really good deal on Pass of All Passes on Groupon awhile back, so some of the events listed below are for pass holders only or are only free if you, too, have a PoAP. If you are one of the four people in Utah who don’t have a PoAP, you should really get on that, stat. Especially since they take forever and a day to process your request. Fo’ reals.
16 – Salt Lake Bees Baseball Game (PoAP): There’s nothing more summer-y in this girl’s mind than eating pretzels (it used to be hot dogs, but I’m a vegetarian now) in a baseball stadium. This game is one of two games included with the PoAPs… and Josh and I will be there, probably in the cheap seats.
24 & 25 – Sundance Resort Full Moon Lift Rides: Riding up on the ski lifts in the moonlight? Sounds uber romantic to me. Just sayin’. Fair warning: The website doesn’t mention a ticket fee, but it doesn’t say that it’s free, either.
25 – Seven Peaks Water Park Re-Opens (PoAP): Going to this waterpark on a near-daily basis is, really, the only reason why we purchased PoAPs this year. Nothing sounds better than floating in the lazy river whilst 8 months pregnant. Except maybe the addition of a bathtub to our apartment.
1 – Provo Farmers Market: I’ve been to this particular farmer’s market several times and, while it isn’t my favorite (my favorite – the Lavell Edwards Stadium Farmer’s Market – doesn’t open until fall), it is still nice to take a walk around and enjoy the booths. There are more crafty vendors than there are food vendors, but it’s still a good time, which will be especially so this year, as my husband and I passed a sign that said tonight that announced the arrival of a “splash pad” coming this spring to Pioneer Park (the location of the farmer’s market).
2 – Utah Lake Festival: A good friend of mine went to this last year, and bringing it up now might be mildly traumatic since, as I recall, she went there on a date with a guy who ended up being a *cough cough* total jerk. That being said, she actually had a pretty good time. And how could it not be, whatwith free food, live music, free fishing, boat rides, a sailboat regatta and more?
7 – Provo Rooftop Concert Series: As always, the Provo Rooftop Concert Series has a great lineup this year. Held on the first Friday evening of every summer month (they generously define that as May through October), June’s concert will be Joshua James, Polytype and Jay William Henderson.
12 – Scera Schell Outdoor Movie, The Sandlot ($3/$4) – Movies in the park start at dusk.
14 – Free Cherie Call Concert at the Central Utah Gardens: Josh loves Cherie Call. It’s a free concert. In a garden! What’s not to love?
14 & 15 – Orem Summerfest: Parades, a carnival, concerts and more! Who could resist?! It’s like being a kid all over again.
16 through 22 – Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days: Billed as “The Longest Continually Running Event in the State of Utah,” you know this has gotta be good. They’ll have a free swim on Monday night (why, helloooo, poolside FHE), a pie eating contest, a craft boutique and more… and, presumably, strawberries, even if the website conspicuously doesn’t mention them even once.
17 – SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, Tarzan (PAOP): Now included in the Pass of All Passes are 2 outdoor plays/musicals. The first, Tarzan, plays June 6th – 22nd.
3 through 5 – Provo’s Freedom Festival: So, here’s the obligatory Fourth of July event. Josh and I may or may not partake of these festivities. I know, I know… Provo’s Stadium of Fire is “to die for,” or whatever, but that’s what everyone thinks. I’d rather something a bit less overproduced and hometown-y, but we’ll see, as we probably shouldn’t travel too far to celebrate the holiday/my dad’s birthday just in case those fireworks set off some contractions. (YES, PLEASE.) I will say, however, that going to the balloon festival sounds like one of the cooler things we could do this July. Wonder if we’ll actually drag ourselves out of bed by 6 am to see it…?
5 – Provo Rooftop Concert Series: July’s concert? The Songs of the Rolling Stones. I daresay not as awesome as the epic Abbey Road Show of two summers ago, but still pretty darn fantastic.
6 – SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, The Sound of Music (PAOP): Now included in the Pass of All Passes are 2 outdoor plays/musicals. The second, The Sound of Music, plays July 5th – 20th.
9 – Classic Rock Concert in the Park: The American Fork Arts Council is putting on a concert series this summer every Monday evening. Most of the concerts aren’t really up our alley, but the One Classic Rock for Everyone concert sounds, ummmmm, awesome.
10 – Scera Schell Outdoor Movie, Back to the Future ($3/$4) – Movies in the park start at dusk.
17 – Scera Schell Outdoor Movie, Brave ($3/$4) – Movies in the park start at dusk.
14 through 17 – Utah County Fair: Okay, okay, so this is definitely waaaaay past our deadline, but not far enough past it that we’d actually be able to go. Still, I wanted to put in a shout out, because, in my experience, county fairs tend to be hotbeds of ridiculously redneck-y activities like hog catching and cow weighing. Once a year – and no more than once a year – I find that kind of hokiness charming.