Everybody has a story. Life unfolds according to chance, choice, and maybe even destiny. Often what drives us is passion. Our passions can lead to opportunity and down a path to success and fulfillment. Utah Stories is a publication that listens to the voices of the community and seeks to connect us all. To that end, Utah Stories founded the Made in Utah Festival as a platform to join the pieces of the puzzle that make us more than just individuals, but the sum of our parts. This weekend, learn what Utah is made of and complete all of your holiday shopping at the Made in Utah Winter Fest presented by Utah Stories!
Utah Stories is a local free publication founded by Richard Markosian. I recommend picking up a copy at your local coffee shop. The current issue includes a holiday small-shop guide to inspire you to put down that laptop and visit local establishments for your holiday shopping needs. “You can live within a block or two of somebody who’s making some amazing product and not even have any clue that they’re your neighbor,” Richard tells me. This is the concept behind the Made in Utah Festival started by Utah Stories in 2015. Although it was Richard’s idea, it’s his wife, Golda Hukic-Markosian, who executes it every year. According to her, the purpose of the festival goes beyond simply encouraging the community to shop locally. “[It’s about] getting all of these exceptional makers together to help them collaborate, and getting to know all of these people and their stories.”
For Golda, the festival reminds her of her childhood in Bosnia where she knew the shopkeepers by name. It’s a bit different here in the United States. We go to a grocery store and walk up and down the aisles with shelves full of whatever we need. These days, we may not even have to talk to a human being as we pay for it. We have become disconnected from our food and the products we buy. Perhaps this disconnect is the reason we find ourselves heading to the Farmers Market during the summer months. We instinctively know how much better it is to buy local. Golda explains, “When you go and buy something from a local maker, not only do you know what’s in [it], but you [also] know where it comes from and the story behind [it]. Instead of some kind of impersonal interaction, you have real communication.”
Since its inception, the Made in Utah Festival has grown each year. It seems to be filling a need in the community that goes beyond other festivals. It’s a free family event that focuses on small Utah businesses who are pursuing a passion and sharing that passion with their neighbors. For the first time this year, the summer festival has expanded into the winter season. It’s being held December 15th and 16th in an indoor space at the Gateway in Salt Lake City. Fill your belly with provincial food and beverages while filling your shopping bag with quality gifts for everyone on your list. All the while, you’ll be soaking in the local culture of artists, musicians, writers, and makers of every kind.
Visit Made in Utah Festival online for a list of vendors and participants and to pre-order one of the specially assembled Made in Utah gift boxes. They are filled with bath and body products or coffee and sweets and will be available for pick-up at the festival. Don’t miss this event! It’s a unique opportunity for you to play an important part in our collective Utah story.