Two big events occurred during the past two weekends that further prove Tooele County isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to entertainment events or education-related venues that appeal to residents and tourists.
The first event, Country FanFest, ended Sunday after three consecutive days of live country music, camping and outdoor activities at Deseret Peak Complex. Organizers indicate their pre-event ticket sale projections of 7,000 music fans per day were exceeded. As reported in today’s front-page story, “Country music fans rejoice,” the concert had nearly 8,000 fans on Friday and nearly 7,500 on Saturday.
Those numbers represent exceptional growth, considering the first Country FanFest in 2015 reportedly had 3,000 fans per day, and last year had 3,500 per day. The growing attendance can be attributed to the nearly two dozen musicians who performed on stage, such as country western stars Thomas Rhett, Brooke Eden, and Dan + Shay, to name a few.
But what Country FanFest organizers have done with the event since 2015 has also contributed to the event’s growing popularity. More than just an outdoor concert, FanFest turns Deseret Peak’s sprawling recreational grounds into a little city in the middle of Tooele Valley, with a long list of activities and services. The concert’s organizers, and Deseret Peak’s staff, are consummate hosts to famous musicians and appreciative fans from around the United States.
The second big event also proves that Deseret Peak Complex isn’t the only place to see stars in Tooele County. On July 22, dignitaries, officials and the public gathered at Stansbury Park Observatory Complex in Stansbury Park to celebrate the completion of the new Kolob Observatory, which provides a permanent home for the Salt Lake Astronomical Society’s Clements Telescope.
Built by amateur astronomer Michael Clements of Herriman, Utah, the telescope is an impressive 35 feet long and features a 70-inch mirror. The mirror was supposed to be used in a Cold War-era spy satellite, but was scrapped because of a chip on the outside edge. It is the largest telescope at SPOC and possibly the largest amateur telescope in the world, according to Clements.
The $58,000 Kolob Observatory was built with funds contributed by Tooele County, SLAS and others. The land upon which the observatory was built was secured by a 50-year lease agreement with the Stansbury Park Service Agency. SLAS will pay $10 per year for the lease. SLAS hosts several star parties for residents and visitors at SPOC every year, and the new Clements Telescope is expected to attract even more guests who seek a profound nighttime view into the heavens.
Over the past several years, Tooele County’s community events, plus recreational, historical and geographical attractions, have grown in renown, either through marketing efforts, or simply by word-of-mouth. All are enjoyed by countless residents and thousands of visitors every year. Thanks to events like Country FanFest, and unique venues like SPOC, that enjoyment is expected to grow and further enhance the county’s renown of being a place to explore — or sing a tune and watch a star.