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Courtesy of Utah Arts Festival
Fire dancers performed at the Utah Arts Festival last year; many other performing artists will be featured in this year's festival.

Related list: 2012 Summer Festivals around the state of Utah in June

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Arts Festival will bring a wide array of events to Library Square in downtown Salt Lake City from Thursday, June 21, through Sunday, June 24.

The festival, in its 36th year, covers all arts genres, including visual, performing, literary and even culinary arts. The event will include street theater, poetry, aerial artists and a film festival.

Eugenie Jaffe, media contact for the festival, said it is the variety of the event that attracts people.

“There are so many different types of art and so many different things to do and see that you are constantly surprised,” she said. “Turn a corner and you’ll see something you’ve never seen before. If you see something you don’t like, then walk two feet and you’ll see something you do like.”

This is a large festival that takes place over two city blocks, and close to 90,000 people attended the festival last year, Jaffe said.

On opening night, Texas songwriter James McMurtry will perform, and the acts on the night to follow include bluegrass group Blue Highway, gospel and soul big band Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Review, blues artist Curtis Salgado and much more. Sixty-six local bands will also be featured.

Other highlights include a sand sculpture that will be created out of 20 tons of sand on 200 East and 400 South, by sand artist Ted Seibert. Seibert and the Sand Sculpture Company have set six world records, including the tallest hand-shoveled sand sculpture. Seibert will be working on the sculpture during the festival, and visitors will be able to watch the creation unfold.

There will also be many events for children that will allow them to create their own art, try their hand at playing an instrument, have their face painted, perform their own play, or participate in a film festival just for them.

“We want to show people that art’s fun; it’s not meant to be kept in a gallery, so we bring it outside where everyone can see it and enjoy it and interact with it,” Jaffe said. “If you’re new to art, come and experience it and see how much fun it is. If you’re a seasoned lover of art, come get re-engaged and see things you haven’t seen before.”

For more information visit uaf.org.

If You Go…

What: Utah Art Festival

Where: Library Square, Salt Lake City

When: June 21-24, noon-11 p.m.

Cost: Adult admission is $10 at the gate, $7 in advance; children (12 and under) are free; seniors (65 and older) are $5. Reduced adult admission is available from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday for $5; $2 off admission if you ride your bike, with free bike valet service available.

Website: uaf.org

Phone: 801-322-2428

Related list: 2012 Summer Festivals around the state of Utah in June

Email: mgarrett@desnews.com