Powered Parachute preliminary competition at the Fall Festival, SunRiver St. George, St. George, Utah, Oct. 1, 2013 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – The master-planned retirement community of SunRiver St. George is holding its Fall Festival this week through Friday with a schedule of sporting and entertainment events befitting the community’s “live-young” attitude. The public is welcome.
Offering irresistible eye-appeal at the very least, the Fall Festival features a series of powered parachute competitions and performances with colorful canopies skirting about St. George’s pristine blue skies. The men and women and their flying machines can be easily spotted over not only SunRiver but Bloomington and beyond. Whether your feet are on the links or your cruising in your car anywhere in the area, all you need to do is look up into the sky to see color bits of the festival at play.
From 8-10 a.m. today, the preliminaries were on with parachute pilots dropping water balloons at little boat targets floating in a kiddie pool (most of them missed), and performing other feats for the judges, who were made up of Dixie State University coeds volunteering to hold up large score cards and catch teddy bears dropping from the sky – (again, not all but most missed). The competition is fun to watch with contestants determined to get fierce as the week goes on.
“This is not the international sanctioned championships,” SkyTrails owner Frederick Scheffel said laughing, “we have had the international championship out in Hurricane fields, but this one is just fun and light.”
The competitors range in age from late 30s into their 70s, and many are retired pilots that just enjoy getting into the air, Scheffel said, as opposed to having an aircraft get them from Point A to Point B. In this competition, they have come from all over the United States, he said, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada.
“A magic carpet ride pretty much sums up what it feels like,” he said.
It’s not all contest. At 5 p.m. today the powered parachutes will launch from the SunRiver driving range, delivering what the SunRiver promotional material promises will be “a breathtaking patriotic tribute, as only the powered parachutes can do it!”
The real competition for the parachuters gets underway tomorrow, with opening rounds from 7-10 a.m., continuing Thursday and Friday, with semifinals and final rounds, respectively, from 7-10 a.m. and again at 4 p.m. both days.
For those interested in flying machines, the festival will offer free Aerodynamics Information Workshops from 12:30-2 p.m. on both Wednesday and Friday. Rides are available as well subject to availability of qualified pilots to take people up and subject to weather conditions. The event special is $45 and would-be parachuters can get their tickets and arrange their flights at the powered parachute booth at the festival.
Other young-at-heart sports
Golf, shotguns, tennis and pickleball are favored sports of the SunRiver community and clinics for these sports afficionados will be held throughout the week. See schedule linked below for details.
Tonight, the Fall Festival brings in the Taiko Project Show, a group of drummers who have been featured on NBC’s “The Voice,” have performed at the Academy Awards in 2011 and the Grammys in 2012. Tickets are $15, with a Benja’s Thai and Sushi dinner add-on offered for $25.
Wednesday night at 6 p.m. will be Gatsby Night, complete with dancing, big band live, and a Gatsby Costume Show in 6:30 p.m. which everyone is welcome to participate in for prizes. The Gatsby event is free, with a catered dinner option from The Riverwalk Grill for $12.
The St. George Rock Dox will bring free entertainment Thursday night, and again dinner is an option for those interested – catered by DUB’s BBQ for $10.
Friday’s grand finale to the festival will bring in Barbra and Frank, the Concert that Never Was, starring Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra impersonators from Las Vegas, Sharon Owens and Sebastian Anzaldo. The concert begins at 7 p.m. on the SunRiver driving range. Tickets are $15, and dinner option is available from Grandma Tobler’s for $25.
Ed. Note: Scheduled events are subject to change and may not be updated on this report. Updated 2:30 p.m. with input from Frederick Scheffel.