For the past 16 years, the small town of Kanab has hosted a festival celebrating nature and creating a community for those who love to be outside. This year, the Amazing Earthfest will return in person for the first time since 2019. On May 14-20, celebrate the natural beauty of the lands on the Colorado Plateau and venture into the wild of Kanab’s beautiful great outdoors.
The Amazing Earthfest is a unique type of festival. Rather than bringing in a marketplace of artisan goods to sell, the week serves as a marketplace for learning. The festival covers many topics, including conservation, climate change, geology, archaeology, paleontology and appreciation of the great outdoors. Most events are free and open to the public.
Founder and director Rich Csenge has worked with a team of other nature lovers and Kanab locals to create this special event. “A lot of people participate in Earthfest, and I think we’re tapping something — some feeling, some need that I think people have to really want to connect with nature,” said Csenge.
Csenge expects that there will be around 20 activities scheduled throughout this year’s week-long festival. The weather-permitting events include mountain bike riding in King County and a hike at Cascade Falls. More interest-specific events include a picnic lunch at Eagle Sink, featuring a lecture from a geologist and a field workshop taught by an expert astrophotographer.
The Amazing Earthfest began as a nonprofit organization and passion project in 2007 after Csenge moved to Kanab from Maine. His love for the mountainous west inspired him to create the festival as an opportunity for people to learn about and appreciate the beautiful landscape of southern Utah.
“It’s a very organic, close to the ground, grassroots-type festival. It’s really a few passionate individuals creating something for public enjoyment and also to stimulate cooperation between local and state governments on federal land management agencies,” said Csenge. The Amazing Earthfest brings explorers into Kanab, and Csenge recognizes the town’s opportunity for nature-based tourism.
Kanab’s town motto is “magically unspoiled.” As nature tourism became more popular after the COVID-19 pandemic, many national parks and federal lands have become oversaturated with visitors. Thirty minutes from the east entrance of Zion with a rich history in the early Western film industry, Kanab has managed to hold onto its quaint “Old West” atmosphere despite tourism.
“I think it is just thrilling to attend something like Amazing Earthfest, which has this very comprehensive focus on the natural world,” said Csenge. He encourages students to attend the festival this May and to expand their understanding of the beautiful nature of southern Utah.
Story by: Lily Brunson
Photos courtesy of Amazing Earthfest on Facebook