Last-minute WestFest considered success by officialsJul 27, 2021 11:59AM ● By Travis Barton
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
After a 2020 that saw West Valley City’s annual celebration canceled, along with countless other events, 2021 witnessed the return of WestFest.
Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Day presented a recap of the event to the West Valley City Council in July discussing how it went and what they hope for the 2022 version.
The festival was held in a limited capacity compared to previous years as organizers weren’t assured it could be held until mere months before the June 17 start date.
Gone was the parade, Dutch oven cookout and skate competition among other normally scheduled events. All of which, Day said they plan to bring back next year.
The cookout, for example, had “additional restrictions that it wasn’t feasible to do that so that’s something we definitely anticipate bringing back next year,” Day told the council.
While there were less events taking place and a smaller number of booths than normal (40 craft and business and nine food vendors), Day said they were pleased with the attendance. She noted one police officer felt it was the busiest WestFest in a long time.
Events such as the K9 and fire demonstrations as well as a softball tournament were still held along with Saturday night fireworks and a 5K to California Avenue and back. A stage still featured 17 performances during the festival as well.
The city netted just over $5,000 between expenses ($62,300) and revenue ($67,237).
The carnival, she said, had a record year of attendees for the 30 rides it had available. Only 21 were on a hand a few years ago.
For vendors, Day said their goal is typically 60 for craft/business booths and 20 for food. She said the food vendors still had many Covid protocols in flux and vendors didn’t want to commit until they knew for sure.
“We didn’t have time to develop that, it’s the same reason we didn’t have a parade,” she said.
Usually the festival only has around 50-55 craft/business vendors. Day said their goal is to bring in more home-type businesses.
“We feel we’ll have more success with that next year,” she said. “We didn’t know what to expect so we couldn’t even update the website (westfest.org). We’ll have more time to prepare for next year.”
Next year Day said the WestFest committee anticipates holding a pickleball tournament, a bike demonstration and competition on the pump track to go along with hot dog and pie eating contests among other things.
“Things we didn’t know if we could or should do this year,” she said. “But we anticipate more growth and opportunities heading into 2022.”
One booth, the West Valley City Fire Department was able to raise $5,000 for burn centers.
A few ideas Day laid out as possible improvements going forward included finding additional sponsorships, increasing the number of volunteers on the committee and reviewing the layout to both improve the flow from booths to carnival as well as place audiences in the shade for the performances.