BRYCE CANYON CITY — Ruby’s Inn — a historic hotel and resort located just outside Bryce Canyon National Park — is preparing to welcome hundreds of guests for the 32nd annual Bryce Canyon Winter Festival over President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 18-20.
“While the festival is in part a celebration of wintertime in this beautiful area, there are so many indoor activities as well for those who prefer to keep warm,” Lance Syrett, general manager at Ruby’s Inn, said.
“This year we’ll see a kayaking clinic in our indoor pool, a pottery class taught by Ben Behunin, tons of crafts that kids will love and a whole lot more.”
New for this year, Ruby’s will be holding its first hot air balloon glow just across the street from the hotel at the Bryce Canyon shuttle station.
On Feb. 19 from 7-8 p.m., five experienced balloon pilots will illuminate the night sky with their 75-foot tall balloons. Pilots will also be available before the show to discuss hot air balloon flight operations and their equipment for anyone interested.
Other adventures on the schedule include ski clinics, photography workshops, watercolor painting and an archery biathlon. The three day festival also includes special activities for children such as hands-on craft classes and athletic competitions.
“We design it so there’s something for everyone at this event,” Syrett said. “Families can come and know that they’ll find something to entertain all the kids plus mom and dad.”
The festivities coincide with a free entry day at Bryce Canyon National Park in honor of the President’s Day holiday, Feb. 20. This is the second of 10 days that the National Park Service is offering waived fees to the national parks this year.
A full listing of dates when National Park entrance fees will be waived during 2017 are outlined here.
“President’s Day is a great time to visit Bryce Canyon, not only because guests get the chance to experience this landmark for no charge, but also because there are fewer crowds this time of year,” Falyn Owens, Garfield County’s tourism director, said.
“Some people may think that the park is closed for the winter, but in fact the opposite is true — winter is one of the most beautiful times to see the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon.”
After the winter festival events, Ruby’s Inn also provides a variety of other adventures available to guests all winter season including an outdoor ice skating rink, horse-drawn sleigh rides, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.