Colorful music, sculpture, painting and dancing make this year's Utah Arts Festival an art lovers' playground.

But in some ways, innovations from the festival staff are just as pleasing as the art.

For example, the staff is bringing in a nicer restaurant environment with "Epicuriosity," which will raise the awareness of the art of cooking.

"We are just responding to the public," said Tracy Vonharten, a Utah Arts Festival staff member.

This way, Vonharten said, people don't need to feel as if they need to go out to eat before they go to the festival, which continues through Sunday at Library Square, 400 South and 200 East.

Chef Robert "Sully" Sullivan, the owner of Utah Food Services, and two other culinary students are taking charge of the artistic food at Epicuriosity.

"This is a chance for them to snack on something interesting," Vonharten said.

And the festival has not forgotten about the kids.

On the south end of the festival, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches are available for the little ones.

"With peanut butter on both sides of bread," Sullivan pointed out, "so the bread doesn't get soggy."

The festival's south end has been set up for juvenile artists-in-training. Among other activities, kids can make hats at the Mad Hatter or music at the Summerhays booth.

Bruce Woodward, education representative with Summerhays, has brought enough instruments for a small orchestra.

Although the music didn't necessarily sound like an orchestra.

"You got to think of the potential," Woodward said in the noisy booth. "You get used to it."

Touring the booths of the festival's featured artists, some festival attendees may wonder about the unique creations or even ask: "How did they think of that?"

"My friend," Dave Borba reported, "bought a creepy ventriloquism doll with the jaw broken off."

So, that's what started Borba thinking about making his Interactive Vintage Inspired Folk Art only nine months ago. Inside his D.B. Collectibles booth, wood-carved devils and dogs with cartoon-like faces and metal pulleys tempt anyone who enters to tug on them.

"The devils are the best-sellers," Borba said. He's surprised that his "Devil Boy" has been so popular in Utah.

"I get a lot of reaction," the artist said. When one man asked him if he believed in the devil, Borba said, "I think he looks cool on the wall."

But not all art is just for looks.

Fritz Wood's odd-shaped spoons are supposedly as useful as they are beautiful.

"There's the oblong pumpkin cleaner-outer," Wood said. The spoons are all wood-carved and have names to fit the shape, such as the Double Layer Lemon Pie Slicer and the Pickle Poker Getter Outer.

As far as wearable art, Della Goheen has created collapsible travel hats that she said weigh less than one-and-a-half ounces each. Once they are opened, they are less than boring. She recommends putting on an oversized ribbon or flower to spice up the hat.

A hat, by the way, is not a bad idea for festival attendees, especially with continuing temperature forecasts near or at the century mark.

To cool off, attendees can go under the misters on the east side of the library or check out Fear No Film — short films being shown in the air-conditioned library.


E-mail: MBennett@desnews.com