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Canyon Country Western Arts fest to debut in Cedar City in late March

SHARE Canyon Country Western Arts fest to debut in Cedar City in late March

In late March, the medieval garb of the Utah Shakespearean Festival will be replaced with cowboy clothes as the Canyon Country Western Arts Festival makes its debut.

Quantum Construction, the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce and the Iron County Tourism and Convention Bureau are hosting the event in the hope of building on the shoulders of the Utah Shakespearean Festival."This is a one-shot deal. If it doesn't work, we won't see it again," said Harry Brown, executive director of the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce.

Lance Bassett of Quantum Construction expects this to be more than a one-time festival. He said the initial response has been so good, he is making plans to build a national cowboy poetry organization headquarters and hall of fame in Cedar City.

The festival will feature what organizers are calling a three-day cowboy poetry "rodeo," with poets competing for points for their work in a similar fashion that cowboys do in a rodeo.

Brown said there are already more than 130 poets who are planning to make the trek to Cedar City from as far away as Canada.

Brown said the winners in the humorous and serious categories will receive $1,000 and belt buckles. The festival also will feature a quilting bee, western music workshops and jam sessions, vendors, an art show and dance. A highlight will be readings from renowned cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell and a western concert featuring The Sons of the San Joaquin.