Ephraim council votes to consider some form of ‘virtual Scandinavian experience’
By Lloyd Call
EPHRAIM—Meeting by Zoom last Wednesday, the Ephraim City Council discussed possible strategies to make up for the Scandinavian Heritage Festival, Snow College youth conferences, Mormon Miracle Pageant and other sports events, all of which had to be cancelled this year due to the new coronavirus outbreak.
Shaun Kjar, city manager, and Michael Patton, recreation director, wondered if Ephraim could have a Scandinavian Summer. The theme would be “Scandinavian Virtual Celebration, have fun at a distance.” A website could be created to display events, crafts and music that could be recorded and shared during a specified period.
Councilmember Margie Anderson said, “How are we going to email out those delicious Swedish meatballs?” The council will continue to discuss the idea. The event doesn’t have to be limited to a weekend, but could be a week-long festival. Vendors could be lined up and people could drive up and order, or local restaurants could get involved.
It wouldn’t be able to launch for Memorial Day weekend, and the council will continue to look for dates sometime in the summer, depending on the social distancing guidelines mandated by the government. The council voted to move forward with the idea.
Kjar emphasized that the committee is also considering an event that allows people to still engage with the things they love about the festival, but in a new way. “These are just ideas right now, so we’ll see how this happens this year,” he said.
The city passed a resolution saying that Ephraim City would comply with the COVID-19 state of emergency, extending the ending date from 30 days to an indefinite period, depending on current legislative action as it occurs (Resolution ECR-20-02).
Amy Jorgensen, Ephraim Granary Arts Center director, gave her annual report to council, explaining the center’s mission statement, various exhibitions, local workshops in the center and school classes, intern program, tours, community projects and strategies for doing virtual art shows during the new coronavirus crisis.
Art and projects are being submitted, and will be shared on media feeds and social media, so anyone can “visit” the art center without having to come to the center in person. An upcoming project called “Lawn Gnomes” will be released soon. Education workshops, Sanpete art and history tours and tutorial workshops are also being created.
Jorgensen said the center is also spearheading a push to have the Ephraim’s bishop’s storehouse restored so it can be put on the national register. Another grant is being pursued to improve the cupola on top of the Ephraim Co-Op, so it doesn’t deteriorate. Jorgensen closed by saying that she had documented over 100,000 people who have been impacted by the center this last year.
Kjar gave his city manager report, and commented that some projects were being put in slow motion because of the virus restrictions, while other projects continue forward at full speed, including water and pipeline projects, which will move forward through the summer. “We hope to continue to move forward, hopefully without a lot of fear,” Kjar said.
Mayor John Scott said there are some hang-ups with getting emergency funds, and that has necessitated the special legislative session being called. “We need these funds. Delays are going to kill us,” Scott told Utah representatives. “I told Derrin Owens that when he gets into committee meetings, remember rural Utah.”