Green River businesses only reach full capacity during peak tourism months. To extend the season earlier into the year and take advantage of our spectacular nearby sites, artists Alison Jean Cole, Anna Evans, and Lisa Ward, and Epicenter hosted the first Green River Rock & Mineral Festival at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in early 2017. The festival started with a lecture on important dinosaur discoveries in the Green River area by Utah State Paleontologist Dr. Jim Kirkland. The rest of the weekend featured expert-led field trips to local geological sites as well as vendors, gem faceting by artist Kirsten Southwell, family activities, and an exhibit of locals’ rocks titled “My Favorite Rock.” Also at the museum, a dry-stack stone wall was constructed to celebrate the architectural history of Southeast Utah. Elsewhere in town local artists Gary & Kelly Orona hosted an open house at Savage Territory Gallery, and West Winds hosted a karaoke night. “My Favorite Rock” is a collection of regional residents’ favorite rocks and the stories attached to them displayed in conjunction with the Green River Rock & Mineral Festival. Through the gathering of these stories, we came to realize what those interviewed already knew: these rocks are more than rocks. They’re the embodiment of memories, bridges to the natural world, sources of hope and comfort, and ancient unchanging objects in an ever changing world.
The event has been adopted by the City of Green River and added to their annual events calendar. So far, the festival has run for three years and we look forward to more. Epicenter will continue to manage the event’s advertising as we gradually hand over the project to the new City event coordinator.
The pilot Green River Rock & Mineral Festival was a part of the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Program, and was made possible by Emery County Travel Board, Sorenson Legacy Foundation, City of Green River, and the J. W. Powell River History Museum.