The Great Salt Lake’s largest island offers captivating views, beaches and wildlife, including a 600-plus American bison herd. The cherry on top, though, is the yearly extravaganza that fills the salty air with hot-air balloons, kites, music and aromas of delicious food. Simplifying its name to encompass broader ranging activities and upgrades, the Antelope Island Stampede offers Labor Day weekend family fun on the cheap.
Hot-air balloon demonstrations and launches each morning begin at 7:30 a.m., weather permitting; additionally, there’ll be evening balloon glows. All add beautiful color contrast to the brown landscape. As winds change midmorning, the professional northwestern kite troupe iQuad will perform synchronized kite flying to music. Personal kites brought or purchased from vendors may be flown on festival grounds from a large field next to the music stage at White Rock Bay. The west-facing bay makes for amazing sunsets, as well.
Along with a hodgepodge of activities throughout the day, cowboy poets and local musicians—Red Shot Pony, Cheatwood, Shades of Grey, among others—will take the stage. Saturday night at 9:30 p.m., Antelope Island’s first fireworks display will be the big finale.
For the festival, entrance via Antelope Island’s causeway is $10—only an extra buck more than the usual rate—for a carload. Visitors may bring food and drinks or buy from a variety of vendors. Make early reservations to pitch a tent at one of the island’s campsites.