Utah County residents like their entertainment, and to the delight of city and county leaders, they usually stay in Utah County to get it.
According to a recent poll conducted by Dan Jones and Associates for the Deseret News, an overwhelming majority of Utah County residents - 88 percent - go out to restaurants, movies, plays or concerts at least once a month. And nearly half of them go out for entertainment once a week."There's a ton of things to do," Orem resident Andrea Geltz said. "(My husband and I) are pretty social, so we go out a lot. We really like to go to movies."
Geltz said she and her husband, who have been married for seven months, attend a variety of events, mostly in the Provo-Orem area, as often as two or three times a week.
The poll results showed only 12 percent of residents go out less than once a month, and only 4 percent said they go out twice a year or less.
"I think we're pretty typical," Geltz said. "People here are very friendly and social, so they're going to get out."
The younger and more affluent residents are, the more often they will probably go out. Respondents were more likely to go out once a week or more if they were in the 18-34 age group or if their family earned more than $40,000 annually.
The poll did not ask respondents about family size or children. The Geltzes and other families may be able to get out often because they have no children or have older or grown children.
Jason Smith and his wife Samantha have a 1-year-old son. He's put a slight crimp in their social lives and entertainment, though they're not complaining.
"We used to go out to movies and restaurants at least every two weeks, but now we don't at all," said Smith. He owns a comic-book shop in Provo, which also hampers his family's activities.
Dan Jones and Associates polled 401 Utah County residents on a variety of questions, including two dealing with entertainment, between Dec. 5 and Dec. 10. The poll has a margin of error of 5 percent.
Respondents in all age and socioeconomic groups of the poll were much less likely to drive to Salt Lake County for their entertainment, whether it be movies or Utah Jazz basketball games.
Only 8 percent of the respondents said they go to Salt Lake County once a week or more and 64 percent of them said they go to Salt Lake once every two to three months or less.
"When we go up to Salt Lake, it's basically to visit relatives," said Geltz, whose three brothers-in-law live in Sugarhouse. "We don't do that many social things with them. They like to go to (University of Utah) games, while we cheer for BYU."
Smith, a U. fan, said he tries to make it up to Salt Lake more often than most of the respondents for athletic events, including U. games and Jazz games.
Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce officials, as well as those in the Utah County Travel and Tourism Advisory Council, said they aren't surprised by the poll results and proudly pointed to the ready availability of entertainment in Happy Valley.
In addition to the hundreds of restaurants throughout the county, seven cities have theaters showing first-run films and both Brigham Young University and Utah Valley State College hold a variety of cultural and athletic events throughout the year. The Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon offers skiing in winter and theater productions in the summer and fall. And for the younger set, there are two dance clubs, the Edge and the Palace.
But not everyone is completely satisfied with the entertainment opportunities in Utah County.
Ross MacDonald, a single BYU student who lives in Orem, said he and his roommates go to Salt Lake City for rock concerts. BYU's Marriott Center hasn't played host to such a concert in several years, and clubs or other sites for concerts in Utah County have closed almost as soon as they open.
Utah County poll
How often do you go out to restaurants, movies, plays or concerts?
ONCE A WEEK OR MORE 44%
ONCE OR TWICE A MONTH 44%
ONCE EVERY 2-3 MONTHS 8%
ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR 3%
LESS THAN ONCE A YEAR 1%
How often do you drive to Salt Lake County to go to restaurants, movies or other forms of entertainment?
ONCE A WEEK OR MORE 8%
ONCE OR TWICE A MONTH 27%
ONCE EVERY 2-3 MONTHS 29%
ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR 23%
LESS THAN ONCE A YEAR 12%
Poll conducted Dec. 5-10, 1994. Margin of error +/-5% on interviews of 401 registered voters. Conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. Copyright 1994 Deseret News. Dan Jones & Associates, an independent organization founded in 1980, polls for the Deseret News and KSL. Its clients include other organizations and some political candidates.