Preparing For Summerfest: Ex. Dir. On What Goes Down Before The Tents Go Up

Jun 16, 2017

Cherished throughout Cache Valley for its communal art and culture, Logan Summerfest requires intensive planning each year. 

Currently in its 34th year, fest-goers enjoy the sprawling foods, goods and festivities for three days.

“I just like the atmosphere; the location is perfect,” said Forrest Olson, who's running his father's cotton candy tent. "Everyone's always happy, friendly."

But long before the fun can begin, one woman and a small team of trustees organize and curate the event that draws hundreds throughout the Western U.S.

This is Executive Director Elaine Thatcher's third year overseeing the festival.

"Yes it is fun. I mean, if you have to have a job, this is a good one to have," she said. "You have to be really organized and there’s year-round work. I’m to the point where -- yeah, it’s a job. There are things that I have to do and the stress level at this point is pretty high."

Because the festival is held on the Tabernacle grounds downtown, every year, Summerfest must sign an agreement with the LDS Church.

Among basic grounds-keeping items, Summerfest also agrees to ban nudity and any overt references to sex and drugs. In addition, no alcohol, tea or coffee may be served around the Tabernacle.

"It’s an unusual festival in that regard," said Thatcher. "We had a performer one year who -- he's a country western singer -- and he says, 'Well, does that mean I can’t sing about beer,' and I said, 'Yeah, do you have any songs left if you don't,' and he says, 'Oh yeah, I got some.' The artists for the most part are really great about it."

Despite the restrictions, Thatcher is happy that Summerfest is a family-friendly event.

"People that want those things can go find them elsewhere in the community and it's really close," she said. "I don’t think people come to the festival for those things. They come for the art and for the music -- and the food -- and the fun festive atmosphere. So I don’t worry too much about that."