LOGAN—Leadership for the Summerfest Arts Faire is changing. Elaine Thatcher is retiring from her duties as executive director and the organization is hosting a reception in her honor on August 17 at the Cache County Events Center, located at 490 South 500 West in Logan. The reception will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For over seven years as Summerfest’s leader Thatcher used her extensive background in arts administration to professionalize the organization and strengthen one of Logan’s outstanding summer events.
Over her tenure of executive director, she upgraded two performance stages in size and quality of sound and secured partnerships with several non-profit organizations. The number of artists has grown to about 160, and the children’s art yard was renamed the Creation Station.
After a long career in the arts and humanities arena Thatcher will be able to focus her energies on her personal art, embroidery, and painting.
She has earned numerous awards along the way including the 2006 prestigious Benjamin Botkin Prize from American Folklore and two Humanities Awards from Utah Humanities for programs she designed.
“This year was difficult for us because of the loss of all the Boy Scouts of America who used to help us in great numbers,” she said. “This year we want to recognize the Green Canyon Latinos in Action, the Summer Citizens, and all the other individuals and groups who stepped forward to help with the work of putting on Summerfest.”
Shirlene Davis, the incoming executive director for Summerfest, will be in attendance at the reception. She has been working in tandem with Thatcher for two months.
“Elaine has been doing a great job organizing Summerfest for seven years and doing a a fabulous Job,” Davis said. “I have big shoes to fill.”
One of the big issues is finding enough volunteers to run a successful Summerfest.
“I came on board on June 1, after spending 10-years in the hospitality industry in Cache Valley where I juggled multiple events at one time,” she said. “I am seeing the other side of Summerfest; without the Scouting program it is hard to find volunteers.”
She will be reaching out to groups and individuals to find people to make Summerfest a success.
“We would like to see more corporations volunteering employees,” Davis said. “This is the biggest event like this in Northern Utah with food vendors, musical artists on two stages and the variety of visual artists.”
She also highlighted the Creation Station for getting children and the community working together.
“The county employees were fabulous to work with,” Davis said. “I was grateful to be Elaine’s shadow for the last two months getting me ready.”
Summerfest presents a mix of local, regional, and national artists, many old favorites along with newer participants. It is a family-friendly arts festival that everyone can enjoy, rain or shine, typically held during the third weekend in June.