The Heber Valley Western Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering Starts This Week

The Heber Valley Western Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering is celebrating it’s 25th year. The event begins Wednesday evening and continues through Sunday.

Director of the gathering Ted Caldwell explains what western music and cowboy poetry is all about.

“We call it a celebration of the American West,” Caldwell explained. “Because it really is a way of telling the western story through music and through poets. Western music and cowboy poetry talk a lot about history, the lifestyle, and those kinds of things. So, we’ve been doing here for 25 years, and you know the artists are primarily what we call western artists or cowboy poets.”

The event starts with a kickoff dinner at the Midway Town Hall Wednesday evening. On Thursday the event begins in earnest with the free community night at Wasatch High School.

“All of our vendors in our Buckaroo fair are all set up ready to go by 5:00 o’clock,” Caldwell continued. “We also have two stages that run continually from 5:00 to 9:00 and then all day Friday and all-day Saturday. So on a general admission ticket folks can come in they can enjoy the Buckaroo fair. We have four food vendors there, where they can buy a meal. They can sit and listen to these two stages that run continually, and about every 20 minutes we rotate entertainers onto these stages.”

Friday and Saturday general admission is $12. Some other shows are ticketed events. Caldwell outlines some of the headliners for the gathering.

“We’ve had for many years now the Bar J Wranglers out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming that come to our event,” Caldwell said. “They do two major shows, one on Friday evening at 7:00 o’clock and one on Saturday morning at 11:00. They also do a benefit concert for us on Sundays where they do gospel music that we call cowboy church. If you haven’t heard them, they’re tremendous instrumentalists as well as very good harmonies and vocals. Then this year on the Saturday evening we’ve got a big name coming in with Diamond Rio. The 7:30 show on Saturday evening. That’s exciting for us because that’s maybe one of the biggest names we’ve ever had come into our gathering.”

Additionally, Michael Martin Murphey will perform along with poets Waddie Mitchell, R.P. Smith and Yvonne Hollenbeck.

Most of the events take place at Wasatch High School but there are additional venues, including Midway Townhall, Soldier Hollow, and at the Zermatt resort. Additionally, at the Wasatch County Events Center will be the cowboy mounted shooters event. The Heber Valley Railroad Cowboy train also runs during the gathering.

The Heber Valley Western Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering is run by an army of volunteers.

“We have over 200 volunteers,” Caldwell explained. “Basically, we run a nonprofit organization and we run our whole organization on a non-profit budget. Lots of volunteers that are super friendly, so it’s always a pleasant experience.”

You can learn more information and buy tickets to events here.

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Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: