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Sugar House Journal

Inaugural Big Backyard Bash highlights park, community

Aug 29, 2019 12h14 ● By Jenniffer Wardell

A mix of local artists are expected to be at the Backyard Bash, including Corinne Humphrey. (Courtesy of Corinne Humphrey and the Sugar House Community Council)

By Jenniffer Wardell | [email protected]

Say goodbye to summer with a big community party, located right in Sugar House’s backyard.  

The Sugar House Community Council is inviting everyone to their Big Backyard Bash, set for Aug. 31 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Fairmont Park (1040 E. Sugarmont Drive.) The event, which will feature art, music, food, activities and more, will give locals the chance to celebrate. It also reintroduces both old and new residents to the park, which has seen several improvements over the past few years. 

“The city wants to be able to use Fairmont Park more,” said Sugar House Community Council Trustee Dayna McKee. “This seemed like a great way to get people into the park and activate the space.” 

This is the first year for the bash, which was inspired by the city’s former Fourth of July street festival. That event, which was held for the last time in 2017, was so missed by residents that the council wanted to find a replacement.  

“We actually came up with the idea last year, but didn’t feel like we had the time to do it right,” said Sugar House Community Council Chair Landon Clark. “This year, we feel like we’ll be able to pull off something pretty great.” 

Since it was no longer tied to a holiday, however, they could give themselves a little more flexibility.  

“We wanted to pay homage to (the festival), but take it back to a cooler time of the year,” Clark said. 

The Bash will give visitors plenty of reasons to stay outside. More than 20 local artists and makers will be on hand, either showing their work or offering demonstrations. There will also be performances by local musicians throughout the day and a kids’ area sponsored by the Sugar House Boys & Girls Club. For anyone who gets hungry or thirsty, there will be a beer garden and a host of food trucks. 

“We wanted to kind of mimic the arts festival but put our own spin on it,” Clark said. 

Other activities will highlight the park’s amenities. The park’s pool, which has recently been remodeled as a fishing hole, will be open for anglers. The pickleball courts will be open for players. The Fairmont Aquatic Center will also hold events, including a log roll and various races. There will also be information about a mural project that’s being considered for the nearby skate park.  

“It’ll kind of be an easy day in the park,” said McKee, who added that the park’s lighting and playground have also been upgraded in the past few years. “It’ll start a discussion about public spaces and give people a chance to get out of the house.” 

For those living in one of the new apartments or condos in the area, that opportunity will be even more important. 

“There’s a lot of new high-density housing in the area, and none of them have yards,” McKee said. “We wanted to be able to show the people that there’s this space they can use as their yard.” 

Clark added that longtime residents will be able to see this as a break from the massive construction projects that have become a common sight in the area. 

“We’re asking developers to chip in to make up for the headaches of the last five years,” he said.  

On a deeper level, organizers hope that the event will help bring together longtime residents with those who have been brought in by the new construction. Though the high-density housing is different than the single-family homes found elsewhere in Sugar House, McKee hopes to bring the residents together on common ground. 

“We’d like to start bridging the gaps in the community that have come in,” she said. 

Clark agreed. “We’re hoping there’s a way to kind of unite the community.” 

If the Big Backyard Bash can provide that kind of unity, it might even become a tradition that residents celebrate for years to come. 

“We hope we can build on this and make it into a two-day or three-day event,” Clark said. “We’ll see how this goes.”