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Utah Ren Fest returning to Marriott-Slaterville in May

By Ryan Aston - | Apr 3, 2024
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This undated photo shows Mark Henderson, owner of the Salem-based Blue Rose Forge, at the Utah Ren Fest.
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In this undated photo, "Pirate Queen Svetlanta" rides a horse at the Utah Ren Fest.
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This undated photo shows a tribute as part of the Utah Ren Fest's Memorial Day procession.

MARRIOTT-SLATERVILLE — Come all ye lords, ladies, jarls and faerie folk! The Utah Ren Fest is returning to Weber County next month with three themed weekends, beginning May 11.

Now in its 18th year, the event once again will emanate from 940 W. 17th St. in Marriott-Slaterville. The weekend of May 11-12 will be faerie-themed; that will be followed by pirate- and viking/hero-themed weekends on May 18-19 and 25-27, respectively.

The festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on all of those days, save for May 18 when it will remain open for the late-night Faire by Firelight shows.

According to Festival Director Sue Bodily, past festivals have attracted as many 10,000 attendees, and vendors/performers have been particularly amped to get in front of this year’s crowd.

“We try to be really supportive of small businesses and artisans and so forth,” Boldily told the Standard-Examiner. “This year, it’s been astonishing, though. We’ve had just an avalanche of folks that want to get spaces booked.”

Utah Ren Fest is in an entirely different realm now compared to when Bodily started it in 2006. And there have definitely been some growing pains along the way, including a number of venue changes, one of which was made just three weeks before the festival was set to open amid flooding and the impending arrival of National Geographic camera crews.

However, Bodily’s love of history and the arts has inspired her to continue building the festival.

“I have always loved history. And I’m probably nuts for putting everything that I’ve put into it. I just think it’s been beneficial to the community,” she said. “And I know it’s been beneficial to the shop owners and the artisans.”

She further cited the opportunity that is afforded to performers to develop characters and hone their skills, as well as the escape that a renaissance fair provides.

“The thing that I love to see is when people are able to escape worrying about a mortgage or be able to get a funnel cake and sit down under a tree and just enjoy it, watch a magic act,” Bodily said. “And then the shopping, of course. You’ve got all those wonderful things that people create.”

In addition to the vendors, performers and shows, equestrian competitions — during which participants will compete for cash prizes — will be part of the festival. There also will be a Memorial Day procession to honor heroes.

Admission to Utah Ren Fest is $15 per day for adults and $10 for youth aged 7-14. Children 6 and under will be admitted free of charge. There’s also a family rate of $50 for groups of two adults and up to four youth. Finally, adult or youth attendees in renaissance or pirate garb or faerie wings and hair qualify for a $2 discount.

For more information, go to http://www.utahrenfest.com.


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