Summit County’s East Side offers great summertime escapes
Ryan Summerlin July 9, 2013
The East and West Sides of Summit County, roughly delineated by U.S. 40, have distinct characters and together they offer area residents a wonderfully diverse spectrum of cultures and activities.
Granted, during the winter, most of the activity takes place at the West Side’s ski areas and in Park City’s commercial district. In the summer though, the East Side’s attractions — rolling country roads, a National Forest, two reservoirs, working ranches and a host of small-town celebrations — are hard to resist.
That was evident during last week’s Fourth of July extravaganza in Oakley, where many Parkites go to get their annual cowboy fix. The Independence Day parade and rodeos were augmented this year by the new L’Oakley Grown Community Market, which will continue through the summer.
The East Side calendar of special events continues this Saturday in Coalville where Main Street will be shut down and turned into a vintage car show. The event feels like an old fashioned ice cream social and is a hallowed tradition for Northern Utah antique car buffs.
After a brief respite, Kamas takes over the spotlight with its Pioneer Day celebration. This year’s Kamas Valley Fiesta Days span from July 19 through July 27 and include a demolition derby, horse shows, a melodrama, a rodeo, history programs and a dutch-oven cook-off.
In August, it is Coalville’s turn with a newly re-energized County Fair complete with home arts, livestock auctions and 4-H shows. The fair takes place August 3-10.
Finally, Francis bookends the summer with its Frontier Days celebration over Memorial Day weekend. Once again, there will be western-style livestock competitions and the perennial parade of rodeo royalty, decorated tractors and floats decorated by spirited local businesses.
In between the official events, West Siders spend the warmer months cycling past the East Side’s farms and ranches, swimming and fishing at Echo and Rockport Reservoirs and enjoying the cool air and beautiful scenery of the Uinta Mountains.
In the tourist guidebooks, Park City and the West Side of the county may get top billing. But local residents know that in the summertime, Summit County’s East Side is a hidden gem.