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Kimball Arts Festival contract extension nears

The Kimball Arts Festival in 2021.
Parker Malatesta
The Kimball Arts Festival in 2021.

With its contract set to expire after this year, the Kimball Arts Festival could soon have a long-term agreement with Park City.

During an unofficial straw poll at the Park City Council meeting Thursday, councilmembers showed unanimous approval for a new five-year contract for the annual festival.

The three-day Kimball Arts Festival started in 1969. Every year, around 200 artists are selected by a blind jury to showcase their work on Main Street for thousands of attendees.

A minimum of 10 slots are reserved for artists who live in the Wasatch Back.

Under the contract proposal, Locals’ Night, which offers free admission to Summit County residents on the first day of the event, would continue.

The nonprofit Kimball Art Center also said it wants to include Main Street employees for free admission, regardless of Summit County residency, starting this year.

The event would continue to take place the first weekend in August, except in 2026, when it will move one week later to avoid a conflict with the Extreme Soccer Tournament.

Kimball Art Center Executive Director Aldy Milliken said the festival is important in that it provides something different for people who may not enjoy hiking or mountain biking.

“We diversify the opportunity for people to experience Park City at its finest," Milliken said. "And we feel like our peer cities are really leaning into culture, and that the Kimball Art Center and the arts fest help, in a sense, compete with what’s happening across the country.”

Festival Director Hillary Gilson said the data showing a decline in visitation doesn’t tell the full story.

She said instead of estimating the number of visitors like they have in the past, the Kimball Art Center now reports actual tickets sold, which provides a more accurate representation.

“So our attendance has steadily increased for unique visitors,” Gilson said. 

A date for when the five-year contract will go before the council for final approval has not been set.