Festivals and Events
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Festivals and Events
Canyonlands Half Marathon and 5-Mile Run. No doubt because of the spectacular scenery, great weather, and fantastic hospitality, Moab's half-marathon—held the third Saturday in March unless it conflicts with Jeep Safari—is one of the favorite running events in the West. In 2015, the race will celebrate its 40th running. The course runs along Route 128, following the Colorado River and parallelling the east side of the park. (This group also does a popular half-marathon in October called the Other Half and a women-only half-marathon in June titled Thelma & Louise.) Registration and hotel rooms fill to capacity months in advance so plan ahead. 435/259–4525. www.moabhalfmarathon.org.
Moab Art Walk. Moab galleries, shops, and cafés celebrate the perfect weather of spring and fall with a series of exhibits. Art Walks are held the second Saturday of the month from March through June and September through November. Stroll the streets to see and purchase original works by Moab artists. 435/259–4446. www.moabartwalk.com.
Easter Jeep Safari. Every year for about nine days around Easter week, thousands of four-wheel-drive vehicles descend on Moab to tackle some of the toughest backcountry roads in America, from slickrock to sand. Attendees occupy every hotel room and seemingly every campsite, so plan well in advance or you will struggle to find a room. This is the busiest time of the year in Moab. The event will celebrate its 50th year in 2016. 435/259–7625. www.rr4w.com.
Moab Arts Festival. Every Memorial Day weekend, artists from across the West gather at Moab's Swanny City Park to show their wares, including pottery, photography, and paintings. This fun festival is small enough to be manageable, charges no admission, and offers an array of affordable artwork. There's live music, cultural entertainment, a kids' tent, and lots of food. 435/259–2742 Moab Arts Council. www.moabartsfestival.org.
Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo. Cowboys come to the Old Spanish Trail Arena (just south of Moab) for three days in late May or early June to try their luck on thrashing bulls and broncs at this annual Western tradition. Tickets start at $10 for adults. 3641 S. Hwy 191, UT. 435/259–6226. www.moabcanyonlandsrodeo.com.
4th of July Celebration. Moab community residents and organizations unite for some old-fashioned Fourth fun with baking contests, fireworks, a parade, a kiddie carnival, watermelon-eating contests, the mayor's address, and local bands and dance groups. The free community festivities fill Swanny City Park and end with a traditional bang: fireworks. 435/259–7814.
Green River Melon Days. The town claims its melon festival, dating to 1906, is the world's oldest. All the watermelon you can eat, an old-fashioned parade, 5k run, and other small-town-America activities await you on the third Saturday of September. 435/564–3448. melon-days.com.
Moab Music Festival. Moab's red rocks resonate with world-class music—classical, jazz, and traditional—during this annual festival that takes place in the city park, in private homes, or floating along the Colorado River. Musicians from all over the globe perform, and it's one of the West's top music showcases. The festival starts the Thursday before Labor Day and runs about two weeks. 435/259–7003. www.moabmusicfest.org.
Skydive Moab Boogie. Parachutists from around the world have descended upon Moab each year since 2003 for the joys of free falling and (presumably) soft landings from 18,000 feet in the sky. The "Boogie" takes place the last weekend in September and features 300+ skydivers, live music, and festivities with altitude. 435/259–5867. www.skydivemoab.com.
Moab Folk Festival. Some of America's top folk artists converge in Moab each November to play on indoor and outdoor stages. Past artists have included Bruce Cockburn, Loudon Wainwright III, and Ferron—this is a real treat for folk music aficionados. 435/259–3198. www.moabfolkfestival.com.
Electric Light Parade. If you visit Arches or Canyonlands in early December, you will avoid the crowds and also be in Moab for the Winter Sun Festival, which includes this memorable—and often silly—local event. Merchants, clubs, and other organizations build whimsical floats with Christmas lights for a nighttime parade down Main Street. A 10k race, holiday arts-and-crafts fair, dance, and a visit from Santa Claus are also highlights of the weekend festivities. 435/259–7814.
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