Taylorsville • Even on a cloudy summer day, the smell of charcoal persisted at Valley Regional Park as families with kids and dogs gathered and brought camping chairs and umbrellas for a rainy start of Taylorsville Dayzz.
Imagine, a Beatles tribute band, opened the main stage of the festival on Thursday along with the West Valley Symphony. Shaking their bangs, the Beatles impersonators played classic renditions of the British band’s most popular songs, wearing black suits fashioned in a 60s style, as the symphony played and clapped with them.
People got up and danced to many of the Fab Four’s classics. Some slowly waved their heads with serene smiles as the cover band played its set to help kick off the three-day community festivities.
Friday’s Taylorsville Dayzz celebrations were to start at 4 p.m. at 5100 South and 2700 West in Taylorsville, and end at 11 p.m. with a fireworks display. On Saturday, there’s a 5k run and a parade planned from 7 a.m. The carnival, booths and various performances will continue until 10 p.m., the starting time of the fireworks extravaganza.
“That’s 30 minutes of non-stop fireworks,” said Jim Dunnigan, Jim Dunnigan, chair of the festival. “...it will be the best fireworks show in Salt Lake County.”
For Misty Reiter, who lives in West Jordan, the tradition of installing a few camping chairs on the lawn with her family to enjoy the festival’s musical offerings dates back to the early 90s, when she used to live in Taylorsville.
Though the food and carnival are great, the music “is the biggest reason I come,” Reiter said. “I love the live bands and the impressionists that they bring.”
She said she’s planning on attending the remaining days to see live covers from bands playing Dolly Parton, Shania Twain and Pat Benatar on Friday. But the most special event to Reiter, she added, will be Abbacadabra, the Abba tribute band on Sunday.
Music, Dunnigan added, is one of the festival’s main attractions.
“I have been looking for a good Shania for a few years,” he said. “And we have what’s billed as one of the best Shania’s tributes...And then Abbacadabra, we had them three years ago and people were by the stage dancing and singing ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Waterloo’ and ‘Dancing Queen.’ It’s a lot of fun.”
Other areas of the festival were filled with booths with 30 different options of food and 50 crafts and exhibition booths. From another stage, beats resonated from an energetic tap dance performance and slow-paced Elvis covers. The occasional scream of joy rang out from the carnival rides.
“Thank God it just rained a little bit, because we spent the whole day working under the sun and it’s really nice to be out here for a while,” said Roy Lopez, a Salt Lake City resident. “Our favorite parts are the rides and that the kids have fun.”
This year’s carnival includes a carousel, a small Ferris wheel, dart-throwing contests, zero gravity rides, vintage car rides for little kids and a petting zoo. Some kids left with small fish in bags or stuffed animals or emojis.
There are also food options from all over the world. Greek gyros, Mexican food, bratwursts, Vietnamese, Hawaiian chicken, Brazilian limeade, strawberries with chocolate, loaded potatoes and pizza as well as carnival classics, such as corn dogs and funnel cakes.
Vendors also sold Polynesian fabrics and accessories, including necklaces and hats with names of Pacific islands. There are also booths with tie-dye tees, face-painting, and art products.
One of them is Ecologic Arts, a booth that sells Peruvian hand-knit sweaters, ponchos and backpacks. “We try to spread our culture.” Juana Ventura said in Spanish. But the community component is one of the things she enjoys the most. “We’ve been coming for eight years and we get to sell, chat, and meet our neighbors.”
As the sun set on Thursday, the West Valley Symphony played the 1812 overture as the Utah Cannoneers of the Wasatch fired 17 cannons with the music.