As a celebration, West Valley's WestFest was a slice right out of the Old West, but with a modern twist or two.
With a mountain man rendezvous, complete with tepees, black-powder rifle shooting, grease pole climbing, a hollering contest and demonstrations on blacksmithing, the 1800s were certainly represented. With parading floats, bands and marchers, the 20th century also played a part.Events began Friday with mountain man demonstrations and a dinner and program honoring long-time area residents. The celebration continued Saturday with an early-morning patriotic program, breakfast, parade, games and athletic events for children.
Also featured was a program by the Beehive Statesmen, fireworks at sunset and a community dance featuring "The Time Cruisers."
Norm Munson and Claude Briggs of West Valley City; Fred Nudd, Rose Canyon, Salt Lake County; Dan Davis, Taylorsville; and Toker Timothy Many Hats, Mountain Home, Duchesne County, were among those who brought a spirit of the Old West to the festival.
"The whole purpose of the celebration is to get back to basics like our forefathers had during the mountain man era," Munson said. "The purpose of the mountain man rendezvous was for traders to bring their supplies from larger cities to the mountains to resupply the mountain men with lead, powder, sugar and salt and other supplies not available in the mountains."
Dressed in buckskin pants, laced with leather fringe, and moccasins and a round-topped hat with a beaded headband, Munson looks like a mountain man.
Munson, who is the booshaw of the West Valley Muzzle Loaders, a mountain man club, and others led children in a tug-o-war, a greased-pole climb, a men's cannonball throw and a women's frying pan-throwing contest.
"Anyone got to the top of the greased pole yet?" asked Daymond Kofford, 12, one of the hundreds of West Valley youths at the celebration.
Briggs, who was showing visitors how to place beads on a loom, laughed, saying he didn't think anyone could climb the pole unless someone stood underneath with a cattle prod. But that didn't seem to phase Daymond, who promised to return.
Davis, who showed blacksmithing techniques of how to heat, pound and form steel, says he believes the trade teaches people responsibility and how to be creative in what they do.
"You learn to be individualistic, because there are no set rules in what you do," he said.
Toker Timothy Many Hats came to the celebration alone, but Munson and Nudd said that he, like others in the gathering, would not be alone.
"Timothy may be alone, but he's never alone when he's around us," Munson said.
They said mountain men learn to work together and to support each other in time of need.
Since cooking is is not allowed on grass in the park, the mountain men did not prepare meals at the celebration but brought prepared food with them.
Chad and Carol Rindlisbacher, South Jordan, manned one of the dozens of booths and displays spread across the grounds of the park. The Rindlisbachers specialize in building tepees and tents and in making mountain man gear.
"I'd really like to live in a tepee and get back down to earth again. It's just too easy to take things for granted the way we live now," Mrs. Rindlisbacher said. That probably comes, she said, from the easy way of living most people enjoy.
In another area of WestFest, Ina Linton of Great Basin Artists was in charge of a display of oils, water colors, acrylic paintings, wood carvings and pottery.