ANTELOPE ISLAND -- With Saturday's storms starting just an hour later, Heather Gallegos, of Tooele, probably didn't have to make good on her promise to stop by a car wash to spray off her family when driving home from the Antelope Island Stampede.
But that was the deal before she, her husband and three children engaged in a colorful chalk dust fight with others at the festival.
"Look at these faces," she said of her children, ages 3, 4 and 7. "See how cute they are? They would be so much cuter concealed in chalk."
That was why she wanted to pay $10 for four bags of chalk for her family to throw around at other people while getting chalk thrown in return at them.
The chalk fights were a new addition to this year's Antelope Island Stampede, officially in its sixth year and unofficially in its seventh.
"We are trying to reach out to a younger crowd," said Melissa Reese, the organizing committee member who came up with the idea of adding the chalk fights.
The cost to attend the stampede is just the regular admission into the state park, which is $9 a carload. The event continues today, with festivities scheduled from noon until 8 p.m.
Hot air balloons are planned to launch this morning at sunrise from the Kaysville ponds and land at the stampede site.
Today's chalk fight is set for 1 p.m., but there may be others that come about based on interest from combatants and availability of remaining chalk dust.
In addition to the chalk fights, there are several new additions to the event.
One is a hired master of ceremonies, Jake Stone, of Mix 107.9 Radio, who wanders through the event to get people excited about what's ahead.
Also new are paragliders, who take off and land at various intervals, and a kid's tent featuring the ROCKIN' Utah (Reaching Out Connecting Kids in Nature) program, which includes kite-making, coloring and animal demonstrations. At 2 p.m. today, participants will be introduced to an owl.
Event chairwoman Barbara Riddle said this year's event has grown considerably over last year's. The field where the event is being held is much bigger. There are more scheduled entertainment acts this year and more vendors participating.
Riddle said the festival also is hosting double the number of kite fliers this year who traditionally show off their skills and unique kites.
"We're hearing that there's a potential of doubling the kites next year," she said.
Currently, the Stampede is put on by 20 volunteers. It's a nonprofit event.
But Riddle said organizers are hoping to make it successful enough that they can hire a person to run the event each year and then to bring the festival to the point where it may contribute to various charities.
They made headway toward this goal this year when the Stampede hosted families associated with Varian Medical Systems Angels Hands Foundation, which serves families of children diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
On the festival's opening night Friday, a number of the foundation's recipient families attended the event for free and then received dinner from the various vendors, paid for by the Stampede funds.
50 50 BMX of Layton, owned by Eddie Buckley, is a hired entertainer at the event this year.
The bike shop owner has brought champion BMX bike stunt riders who have competed on the Dew Tour and who have toured the country performing.
The stunt riders show their skills in a number of difficult tricks, complete with stories offered by Buckley about what makes the tricks unique.
Behind the show is a message of encouragement that Buckley shares.
"Keep on trying. That's what we're always preaching to kids, because there's always a next time to get it right," he told kids and adults watching the show Saturday as the performers occasionally erred on their tricks.
"Kids don't get enough positive messages these days," Buckley said behind the scenes. "My brother-in-law died of a heroin overdose three years ago. That's when I said 'I've got to go and use BMX to spread positive messages.' "
For a complete schedule of today's events, go to antelopeislandstampede.com and click on schedule and activities, then scroll to the bottom of the page.