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WestFest International, one of the largest community celebrations in Utah, begins Thursday at Granger Park, 3600 W. 3500 South, with food booths, entertainment, carnival rides and other activities.

By the time it ends Saturday night - with the bang of fireworks - the festival will have attracted more than 35,000 people to one or more of its many events, according to organizers.WestFest chairwoman Verla Nielsen said the 1991 edition of WestFest will exceed the previous six festivals in the size of its parade, the number of activities and community involvement.

The highlight of WestFest is its parade, which this year has 120 entries, including 20 floats, high school bands and dancers. Marchers representing the city's numerous cultural and ethnic groups will carry 40 international banners.

The parade starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at Valley Fair Mall and will proceed west along 3500 South to Granger Park.

One of the featured attractions of WestFest is a "pow-wow," with "mountain men" from throughout the West demonstrating mountain skills and lifestyles from the 1800s.

Clowns will be at the park after 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and all day Saturday to entertain children. Other activities for children include face-painting, balloon sculpturing, juggling and magic shows.

A top 40s outdoors dance sponsored by Q 99.5 FM will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday at the Granger High School stadium.

Athletic events include a 15-team walley-ball tournament Friday evening at the Jordan Valley Athletic Club, 5350 S. 3600 West, and a 6-K run along the parade route at 8 a.m. Saturday. Also, there will be a powerlift contest at the park at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.

Entertainment on Friday will be provided by the Saltairs Barber Shop Chorus, and on Saturday by the Time Cruisers. The Hillsdale Elementary School Summer Theater will perform at 5 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday.