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Utah Arts Fest preparing for kickoff
Event opens Thursday with Caribbean jam

The 1999 Utah Arts Festival kicks off for the last time at the Triad/Delta Center Thursday, and organizers expect the annual four-day event to attract between 80,000 and 90,000 people.

Over the last week, crews have been busy setting up stages, displays and decorations for the festival opening."It's like creating a mini-city," said Cindy Gubler, media contact for the event. Water, electricity, bathroom facilities and a security trailer all have to be set up, she said.

And when the party's over, crews will help bring the festival down and set it up next year at the Utah State Fairpark.

The 15th annual festival begins at noon and culminates Sunday evening with Salt Lake's largest salsa dance party.

"The festival will literally be alive with art from noon until midnight," said festival executive director Robyn Nelson.

The celebration will feature more than 1,000 artists, four performing art stages, outstanding visual arts, magical street theater, interactive art projects, a glass-blowing studio and myriad other attractions to entertain attendees. Local music will play continuously from noon, Nelson said.

Children will also parade at the close of Planet Discovery every evening with large-scale animal sculptures.

Although an overwhelming number of attractions may boggle the mind, "it's easy to find your way around," says Nelson. Maps will be available at the event to help festival enthusiasts.

Growing popularity of the festival has prompted organizers to hold next year's event at the Utah State Fairpark. To help visualize the reality of next year's move, a large-scale model of 'Festival 2000' will be located for viewing at the northwest corner of the Delta Center plaza.

Featured musicians include The Duke Robillard Band (blues) on Thursday at 10 p.m.; Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie (zydeco) on Friday at 10 p.m.; and Australian swing band Fruit on Saturday, also at 10 p.m.

For further festival information, refer to its Web site at www.uaf.org.

Thursday's opening and attractions are as follows:

Park Stage

Noon -- Pan Jam, Caribbean steel drum

1:15 p.m. -- Kathryn Warner, folk

2 p.m. -- Sandy Anderson, poetry

2:30 p.m. -- Michael Lucarelli, classical guitar

3:15 p.m. -- Sandy Anderson, poetry

3:45 p.m. -- Ken Kritchfield Group, contemporary jazz

4:30 p.m. -- Lance Larsen, poetry

5 p.m. -- Pat Carnahan Band, jazz and blues

6 p.m. -- Tim Erickson, poetry

6:30 p.m. -- Cairo by Night, Middle Eastern music

7:30 p.m. -- Jason McDonough, poetry

8 p.m. -- Gaslight District, pop music

9:30 p.m. -- Monsters of Poetry

10 p.m. -- Doug Wintch Band, folk rock

Plaza Stage:

6:30 p.m. -- Great Basin Street Band, Dixieland Jazz

7:30 p.m. -- Lance Larsen, poetry

8 p.m. -- Soul Patrol, soul/funk

10 p.m. -- Duke Robillard Band

Amphitheater Stage:

7 p.m. -- Saliva Sisters

8:30 p.m. -- Opening Ceremonies

9 p.m. -- Utah Symphony

10 p.m. -- Nicole Walker, poetry

10:30 p.m. -- Nachmusik, 18th century chamber music

Planet Discovery Stage:

1:30 p.m. -- Sister Maryam, storytelling

3:30 p.m. -- Interactive music

6 p.m. -- The Rainbow Factory, tunes for tots