When is the Cheapest Time of Year to Buy a House?

Location, location, location – a term you’ve heard countless times for real estate and marketing strategies alike. While location is the single most important factor when it comes to buying a home, it’s usually one of the few factors in home buying that potential buyers consider. What if you were told that all other factors aside – even if it’s that perfect home you want in that expensive location you’ve been dreaming of for years – that waiting just a few months can make a huge impact on price?

While the warmer months of the year seem like the more appealing time to tour houses with your real estate agent, that’s exactly why it’s more expensive during that time. The winter – specifically October through March – usually hosts the lowest prices for home buyers. Of these winter months, the peak time for low prices is January and February, according to Trulia. Homeowners are in a rush to sell houses that have been lingering in the market, resulting in price drops, whether small or large.

When is the worst time of year for prices?

The summertime is generally the worst time of year for homebuyers in regard to price, meaning that prices in the summer are much higher. It mainly comes down to how long the house sits on the market. The longer the house sits on the market, the lower the cost of the house is at closing. The problem with the summertime – beginning with June – is that the turnaround for houses on the market is pretty high. Houses go on the market, and they are purchased fairly quickly in comparison to rates for other months of the year. This shortens the time for price negotiation.

What if you want a wider range of homes to choose from?

If price isn’t the most important factor to you, consider looking for homes in the spring. The housing market in April and May begins to flood, as people are ready to put their homes on the market and you see so many “for sale” signs post-Easter. If you’re prepared for a little less wiggle-room when it comes to price negotiation, but you’re looking at a highly specific set of criteria, spring is the best time for you to look for that perfect home.

How about a middle ground for prices and options?

Lucky for you, a middle ground does exist for these cycles between low prices and more options. This middle ground is the end of summer – towards July or August, once a large percentage of the homes listed in the spring and summer have sold, but the market is still more abundant than in the winter.

In summary,

  • If your priority is low prices…start looking in the fall, expecting to buy in the winter.
  • If your priority is a variety of homes to look at…start looking in the spring, expecting to buy in the summer.
  • If you want an equal balance of price and variety, start looking at the beginning of summer, expect to buy at the end of summer, before the beginning of fall.

House for Sale St. George

Paved Biking Trails in St. George

St. George is famous for being a bike-friendly community. While there are countless off-road trails in the surrounding areas for skilled mountain biking, there’s also paved, mild-grade trails all throughout St. George for all skill levels. Keep in mind that these are all multi-use trails, meaning that you’ll likely run into non-bikers on the trail.

Virgin River Parkway

This 7 mile long trail begins at East Riverside Drive and ends at the Man o’ War Trailhead in Bloomington. An easy trail for all skill levels and ages, you can make the trip as short or long as you prefer. The trail provides little shade through the length of it, so come prepared with sunblock, hats, and plenty of water. For the best times to ride it, try it in the spring or fall, or ride it in the mornings during the summer. The trail becomes the City of Washington Mill Creek Trail after the 0.7 bike lane section on East Riverside Drive. This well-maintained paved path provides an excellent view of the Virgin River, trailing alongside the river with views of St. George and the Bloomington Country Club golf course.

Snow Canyon Loop

The Snow Canyon Loop is 18 miles round trip, stretching from the urban edges of Bluff Street to the deep red valleys of Snow Canyon. This easy-to-traverse trail is ideal for any length you want to make it, although there are steep grades throughout the trail that inexperienced bikers may have to walk. If you’re looking for a secluded, quiet trail with Southern Utah’s red trademark beauty, the Snow Canyon Loop is as close as it gets. Restrooms and drinks are available at the Snow Canyon campground. You’ll also be sharing this trail with other bikers, hikers, rollerbladers, and joggers, although this trail never feels crowded.

Sand Hollow Wash

This trail begins at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center off of Sunset Drive and ends at Lava Flow Drive. This is a short trail just shy of a mile, stretching 0.9 miles in length (one way). This trail runs north to south, past Snow Canyon High School and the Dixie Downs area. Gentle slopes make up the length of it, so this is a great trail to take beginners and young children on. If you’re looking for an easy trail to exercise on frequently without the hassle of driving too far outside of town, this is a great day-to-day trail if you live in the area.

Halfway Wash Trail

The Halfway Wash Trail is a connecting trail to the Snow Canyon Loop, right at Snow Canyon Parkway. 1.9 miles long, this trail sits at the northern end of St. George and has stunning views of the red cliffs and the desert landscape. This is a shady trail that winds through parks and across bridges, providing an easy to moderate trail for all skill levels. Other trails that connect to Halfway Wash include Chuckwalla Trail, Paradise Rim Trail, and Turtle Wall trail, all easily accessed within the area. However, these adjacent trails are not all paved. Expect good surface conditions for this trail. There is an alternate trailhead for Halfway Wash east of the shopping center at Sunset and Dixie.

Fort Pierce Wash Trail

Crossing with the Virgin River Parkway trail, this short, easy trail is 0.7 miles in length with great views at the top. This trail meets with the east end of the Webb Hill Trail, and at the Larkspur trailhead, meets with the Bloomington Hills North Trail. This is the steepest part of the trail with an 8% grade. This trail is good for families with young children and is wheelchair accessible.

St. George Trails

Map of All St. George Trails via sgcity.com

Utah’s Best Arches

While the Delicate Arch has become Utah’s logo, in a sense – marking our license plates, billboards, keychains, calendars, and more – there are many astounding arches across Utah that aren’t as well-known but worth visiting. While many of these are in Arches National Park, they’re all worth putting on your bucket list for places to visit in Utah. Here’s a list of 10 stunning natural arches and bridge in Utah, including Delicate Arch – because what list of arches in Utah would be complete without Delicate Arch?

Double Arch

Double Arch

Also located in Arches National Park, these two sandstone arches are interesting because they share the same base and arc towards different directions, meeting with the massive red cliff face. The half mile round-trip hike is easy for all skill levels and ages, complete with beautiful wildflowers that are native to Utah. No matter what other hikes you’re doing in Arches, considering the length of this trail, it’s a must to visit these arches.

Rainbow Bridge

A familiar sight to those who travel to Lake Powell frequently, Rainbow Bridge National Monument is about as smooth and flawless as natural arches come. This rounded feat of nature is 290 feet tall and 270 feet across – as long as a football field. The bridge is considered sacred to the Navajo Nation, a representation of deities creating life in the desert, so it’s important to treat the area with respect when visiting.

Natural Bridge

This castle-like arch located in Bryce Canyon is a magnificent contrast to the towering pines and red hoodoos that populate the rest of the terrain. Good news for those who don’t like to hike – this arch requires no hiking whatsoever. It can be seen from the road to Rainbow Point, and there’s a parking lot for those who want to stop to get a better look.

Corona Arch

Corona Arch & Bowtie Arch

This massive arch located just west of Moab leans against the cliffside, overlooking the red desert wasteland that continues to the edge of the horizon. This is an easy, well-marked trail about 3 miles round-trip across slickrock. This is a great hike for kids, and what makes it even better, this is a two-in-one hike – Bowtie Arch is right around the corner, nestled into the mountainside.

Mesa Arch

One of Utah’s most photographed spots for good reason. This low-curving arch is at the edge of a tall mesa, overlooking a stunning desert landscape. The arch is in Canyonlands National Park and is an easy hike at .7 miles roundtrip. For avid landscape photographers, this is one of Utah’s most accessible arches waiting to be apart of your next photography road trip.

Landscape Arch

Want to see the largest natural arch in the Americas? Landscape Arch is what you’re looking for. Located in Arches National Park, this spindly, fragile-looking arch is a whopping 290 ft in span. The arch can be found at the end of the Devil’s Garden Trail, which is an easy, 1.5 mile round trip hike that winds through a Mars-like landscape in Arches.

Kolob Arch

Only three feet shy of Landscape Arch’s length of 290 feet, Kolob Arch has a span of 287 feet in Zion National Park. In fact, for a long time, it was considered the world’s longest arch due to different measuring methods. While this is a stunning hike that doesn’t experience frequent travelers, it comes at a cost in length, stretching to a 14 mile round-trip hike. This is why it’s commonly traversed as a multiple-day backpacking trip, as the average time to hike this is about 12 hours.

Sipapu Bridge

Sipapu Bridge

Named from a Hopi term for “opening between worlds”, this arch is 268 ft in length in span and 220 ft in height. This massive arch is located in National Bridges National Monument in southwestern Utah. Two other natural bridges are present at this monument, named Kachina and Owachomo, although Sipapu is the largest. The moderately-difficult hiking trail to get to Sipapu is 1.2 miles roundtrip and features ladders, switchbacks, and steep inclines on switchback.

Hickman Arch

This twisting, chromosome-like arch is located in Capitol Reef National Park. The moderately-difficult hiking trail for this arch is 1.8 miles roundtrip and features stunning canyon views at the arch, perfect for pictures overlooking the desert landscape.

Delicate Arch

The golden child of the arches in Utah that we all know and love, and for good reason. It stands out starkly against the rest of the rolling terrain, making it one of the most distinguishable arches on earth. The 3 mile round-trip hike is in Arches National Park, ranked as a moderately difficult hike with some rugged spots of steep inclines/declines.

Sundance Film Festival 2018

One of Utah’s trademarks is the Sundance Film Festival, an annual independent film festival that takes place in Park City and Salt Lake City and garnered over 70,000 attendees last year – many of which include high profile actors, directors, and producers. With the Institute founded in 1981, Sundance was founded as a low-budget festival to give attention to independent filmmakers, and will now be approaching its 40th year in operation. The festival was also designed to bring filmmaking to Utah, which is has successfully done.

By 1988, the festival was screening almost 100 films. Once the festival started gaining momentum and popularity, it had to be selective on the films it was able to showcase. In the early 2000s, the festival was getting thousands of film submissions, with roughly 200 slots available. In 2017, the festival received over 13,000 submissions, and screened 181 one of those.

Robert Redford, the founder of the Sundance Film Festival, is a familiar name to fans of classic western films. He starred alongside Paul Newman in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, naming the festival after his own character in the film – the Sundance Kid. This film launched Redford into stardom because of its overwhelming success. Redford, with the help of Sterling Van Wagenen, Cirina Hampton Catania, and John Earle, started the legacy known as the Sundance Film Festival on the towering slopes of the Wasatch front.

The festival is now a way for indie films to become successful box-office hits, and for some, that’s exactly what they fear. With the wildfire-like popularity and success of the film festival, for the past ten years, Redford, voiced his opinion that he feared with the festival’s mainstream presence, it has been losing the element that made it special for so long. Festival organizers have since been attempting to curb activities, like luxury lounges and other aspects of the festival that drew in big celebrities and hoards of paparazzi, drawing away from the main importance of the film festival – celebrating indie filmmaking as an art.

This influx of popularity isn’t slowing down, either. From 2016 to 2017, attendance jumped from 46,660, to 71,600. Staff numbers keep growing, and the festival now as offices in Park City, New York City, and Los Angeles to be able to reach filmmakers all across the U.S. The festival also is an funnel for $3.28 million in grants to reach the artists that contribute to Sundance, and provides public workshops from experts to inform and educate artists and filmmakers on many topics involving the short filmmaking industry. It has given rise to many influential filmmakers, such as Quentin Tarantino, and films such as The Blair Witch Project, Napoleon Dynamite, Little Miss Sunshine, and Supersize Me.

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival will be taking place from January 18-28 this year, and will take place across Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance. This year’s lineup of films can be found at Sundance’s website here. Tickets to the event can be found here.

Sundance Park City

Zion National Park – When Visitation Numbers Become a Concern

With Zion National Park’s tourism industry fueling a huge portion of Southern Utah’s economy, in past years, it’s not uncommon see promotions encouraging people to visit Zion and other national parks in Southern Utah. However, visitation is a growing concern, and it looks like marketing campaigns were successful. The popularity of Zion National Park has been growing at a steady rate, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down – even with the centennial celebration of the parks in 2016, which was designed to draw more people to the parks, visitation numbers keep climbing.

But why is this an issue? If Zion National Park is doing so well to bring in travelers from all over the world to see its colorful sandstone slopes, and in turn bringing more business through St. George, Springdale, and surrounding areas, it’s helping the tourism industry in Southern Utah thrive. As good as it is for monetary reasons to local businesses, it’s hurting the landscape of Zion National Park. As great of an opportunity as it is for so many people to be able to experience the beauty and history of Zion at an affordable price, there are concerns for the preservation of the landscape. Extra visitation means extra wear and tear on the trails and the fragile ecosystem in the park. Trails and even off-trail areas where hikers are discouraged to go are being worn down at a faster rate. This could have a negative impact on the wildlife in the area, as well as the plants, rocks, streams, and other natural features that make up the park.

High visitation also makes it a more unpleasant experience to visitors. Going to the park and dealing with long lines for entry or packed trails eliminates the authenticity of the experience. And while Zion is the park experiencing huge visitation numbers, it’s not the only one. Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef are also welcoming visitors by the millions every year. While Zion had 4.4 million visitors in 2017 (excluding December), and in 2016, Bryce had 2.5 million visitors, and Capitol Reef 1.1 million.

A few ideas are being considered to help throttle the visitation numbers in Zion National Park that would affect other national parks in Utah as well. One would be to increase the cost to get into the park to $70 per car during the peak season, where it’s now $25-30 per car to enter the park. Higher costs would certainly decrease visitation and discourage some from going, but Congresswoman Mia Love voiced an important concern – average to low-income families in Utah wouldn’t get to experience Zion because of the increase in prices.

Another idea the park has been considering would be to set up a reservation system to go to Zion National Park, which would help decrease visitation without hiking up the costs of entering the park. This would be the first national park to do so. The number of reservations would vary by season. However, this is also inconvenient to people traveling a long way to see Zion and stretching other plans to accommodate for specific reservation dates in Zion. While it’s unsure what will happen, it will take a couple years to implement the change they see fit to control park visitation.

Energy Efficient Ideas to Improve Your Home

St. George is moving forward with an Energy Efficient Home movement, and Ence Homes is leading the way in this practice. Ence Homes has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2011 Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award. This award recognizes the important contribution Ence Homes has made in energy-efficient construction and environmental protection by building more than 100 Energy Star qualified homes last year. Click here for more info on Ence Homes Green Homes in St. George.

However, for simple, short-term ways to save energy in your home, here are some ideas to make your home more energy efficient throughout the year.

Get a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats are a must in modern homes, not only for their convenience, but for saving energy and reducing cost. Time your thermostat to only kick on the AC or heating during certain hours of the day, when you know it will benefit you the most. Set it to turn off during the night or when you’re away for work. If you’re leaving for vacation, set the thermostat to 55 degrees to save on energy but to keep the pipes from freezing.

Seal and insulate

Adding insulation and sealing your home properly can save hundreds on your heating and cooling bill every year. If you live in an older home, there’s a good chance you could be losing money throughout the year – especially during the winter. If your heater is constantly running, try sealing doors and windows to prevent warm air from escaping. Insulation is equally important. Try re-insulating specific areas in the house that fluctuate between drastic temperatures, failing to retain a specific temperature. Installing more attic insulation can make a huge difference throughout the entire house.

Energy efficient appliances

There are countless options for energy efficient home goods for the kitchen, laundry room, and more. Energy efficient appliances are increasing in popularity, and while they cost more up front, they save you money over time by using less energy, water, etc. Consider replacing the appliances in your house – even if it’s one by one – with energy efficient appliances that look great, save you money, and take up less natural resources.

  • Energy Star refrigerators are 20% more efficient.
  • Energy Star dishwashers are about 10% more efficient.
  • Energy Star washing machines use 50% less water and 30% less energy, which can save about $50 per year.
  • Energy Star fans used in bathrooms and above stoves use 70% less energy.

Install a water-saving showerhead

Water saving shower heads can save gallons of water every shower, resulting in massive amounts of saved water per year and a significantly lower water bill.

Energy efficient lighting

Along with energy efficient appliances, one of the factors in our homes that take up the most energy is lighting. This can be even more so in the winter, when the sun sets early and we have significantly less sunlight to light our homes and offices during the day time. When shopping for light bulbs, look for the Energy Star label. Start with the most used light fixtures in your home – like in the kitchen and bathrooms – to save a minimum of $60 a year. Consider installing dimming switches, which use less energy at a low setting.

Take advantage of natural lighting

Not only should you replace your bulbs with energy efficient fixtures, take as much advantage of natural lighting as possible. Consider replacing dark drapes or curtains with minimalistic blinds to keep out the sun and the heat during the summer, and to bring in as much light and warmth during the winter as possible. More windows means less time that the light switch is in the on position. You can also consider installing skylights as a more intensive project to maximize the amount of sunlight you get in your home. Paint your walls light colors to optimize that light and to make spaces appear larger.

Use strategic landscaping

Not all energy efficient improvements happen inside the home – optimize your energy bill using your yard, as well. Plant trees, bushes, vegetation, etc., close to your home. This provides natural insulation, especially during the summer, when trees shade your home and help keep the sun off the exterior of your house.

Take care of your heating and furnace

Check your furnace filter regularly – every month or so during the cold months of the year – and if you have an older furnace, check it even more frequently. Get an annual check on your heating system to make sure its working properly and to make sure it’s running efficiently, without wasting your money. This is also a good safety precaution, to keep your home safe and prevent fires or malfunctions with the heating system.

Install more ceiling fans, and take advantage of the ones you already have

While ceiling fans still use energy, they take far less energy than your AC unit. In fact, a ceiling fan uses about as much energy as a typical light bulb. Switching to ceiling fans and using your AC minimally can save you money on your bill during the summer.

For washing and drying clothes…

Use cold water to wash your clothes, and use the dryer on loads that are completely full. During warmer months, consider drying your clothes outside on a clothesline. As mentioned above, there’s a wide variety of energy and water-efficient washers and dryers to consider investing in.

Fix leaky faucets

Another way to save small amounts of water that adds up over time is by checking all the water fixtures in your house and yard on a regular basis. Fix leaking pipes or faucets as quickly as possible to save water.

Keep the garage door closed

While it’s easy to leave the garage door open and is habitual for most people, keep your garage door closed as often as possible. No matter what time of year it is, the heat (or cold, if it’s in the summer) can escape from your home and overwork your AC or furnace. With the garage being less-insulated than the rest of your house, and directly attached to it, it can affect the temperature of your entire house.

For more info and ideas on energy efficient homes, visit Energy-Efficient Home Design | Department of Energy

Zion in the Winter

Zion in the winter – yes or no?

For avid hikers who can handle the cold, it’s a definite yes. The beauty of Zion National Park during the winter makes it almost a different park than you see during the warm months of the year, when visitors flood the park to enjoy the beauty and warmth of southern Utah. This lightly frosted landscape in the winter has a sense of untouched beauty to it, when park visitation numbers go down, and fewer people trek the sloping trails of Zion – especially after Christmas, from January-March.

For those who are less inclined to thrive in the cold, hold off on Zion until the spring, or keep your eye on the warmer days of winter and go during that time. While Southern Utah does flaunt mild, short winters, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get cold in Zion – this desert landscape still braces itself against cold temperatures during the late fall through early spring. The weather and temperatures fluctuate in the winter, so check the weather before your trip so you can pack and dress accordingly.

Be wary of ice

When visiting Zion during the winter, the most important part is to be wary of ice on the trails. While most trails are open year-round, they can be icy and slick once the sun melts the snow. It’s important to check the Zion Canyon Visitors Center beforehand to get an update on these trails, especially for trails like Angels Landing, Weeping Rock, Riverside Walk, Observation Point, and Emerald Pools, that experience sun and moisture and can lead to dangerous hiking conditions.

Get the right gear to stay dry

With proper gear, camping overnight in the park is feasible as well – even in a tent during the winter months. It’s important to use waterproof gear designed for zero-temp weather to accommodate for the cold, staying warm and dry even during the coldest nights of the year.

Be aware of road closures

The Zion and Springdale shuttle system is not in operation during the winter season, so private vehicles can drive through Zion Canyon using the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Keep your eye on the Current Conditions Page to check for any roads that are closed due to bad weather. Although Zion roads and the roads leading to Zion are open year round, like Kolob Terrace Road, Kolob Canyons Road, and Mt. Carmel Highway, these roads all experience frequent closures due to snow and other hazardous conditions during the winter, so it’s important to check this beforehand and plan your route accordingly.

Zion Winter Season Hours of Operation

Zion Canyon Visitor Center
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed Christmas Day

Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed Christmas Day

Zion Human History Museum
Closed during winter

Kolob Canyons Visitor Center
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed Christmas Day

Christmas Events in St. George – 2017 Guide

The holidays are here, and St. George is celebrating the Christmas spirit with events occurring all throughout December. With the Jubilee of Trees and Santa’s Workshop Christmas Gift Show at the Dixie Convention Center already done, mark your calendars for events to bring the entire family to before Christmas.

Christmas in the Canyon

This year, Tuacahn is celebrating the holidays in multiple ways. Christmas in the Canyon, running from November 24-December 23, where Tuacahn’s campus is decorated in Christmas lights and music on the plaza. Hot chocolate and other concessions are available as you walk around and look at the Christmas lights, along with an open fire. Gifts for the holidays are also available. A live nativity runs from 7-8 p.m. for $2 a person, where acting, music, and narration combine thanks to volunteer groups that put on the story of the birth of Christ. The nativity also includes live animals, such as camels, in this performance. An ice-skating rink surrounded by the beautiful red cliffs of Tuacahn is open to the public for $7 a person ($5 per person for a group) from 5-9 p.m. Santa Claus is available from 6-8 p.m. on these nights, as well as a holiday train ride on the Old Salty Train, thanks to Ruby’s Inn. For more info, visit tuacahn.org.

Fairy Tale Christmas 

Also at Tuacahn this year is Fairy Tale Christmas, a musical by Scott & Michael McLean based on their award-winning book. This musical was performed at the 2016 New York Fringe Festival, and is now coming to Tuacahn’s stage, telling the creative tale of classic villains from fairy tales attempting to kidnap Santa Claus. This musical runs from December 1-23. For seating and other information, visit tuacahn.org.

‘A Christmas Story’ The Musical 

The St. George Musical Theater at the St. George Opera House will be putting a creative twist on the classic holiday film, A Christmas Story. Tickets are $17-21 and can be purchased at sgmusicaltheater.com. Hosted at the historic opera house on main street, this musical runs Thursdays-Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. through December 16.

The Forgotten Carols

This classic play put on by Dixie State University, also organized by Michael McLean, tells the story of a nurse whose life is changed by a patient who retells the story of Christ. It is suggested for children 5+, and children over the age of 2 require a ticket. This play will be available  Dec. 6 – 7 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance at 4 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the Cox Auditorium, 350 S. 700 E. in St. George. Tickets are available at tickets.dsutix.com and range from $19.50 – $36.50.

The Nutcracker Ballet 

For the 24th year, Westside Studio of Performing arts here in St. George will be putting on their annual production of the classic Nutcracker Ballet, complete with mice, soldiers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy with the talented cast and dancers of this local studio. Directed by Sheila Bailey, the performances for this run from December 15-19 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee showing December 16 at 2 p.m. The ballet will be held at Desert Hills High School and is $15-20 to attend and can be purchased here.

2017 St. George Christmas Light Spectacular 

HedgeHog Electric is hosting a new tradition in St. George and Washington County this year – an event recognizing the most festive of lights in the county, with a provided map for viewers to drive around and look at the lights of local homeowners who are dedicated to creating beautiful light scenes in their yards. You could win a $300 Visa gift card if you go on the tour and post a picture to Facebook or a social media site by using the hashtag #StGeorgeChristmasMap. The Kuhn home – a home that won $50,000 from ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight – will be available this year, with activities that go on throughout the month as well. For more info on the Christmasn Light Spectacular, including the map, click here. For HedgeHog Electric’s Facebook page, which also has details of the event, click here.

The Spirit of Christmas at DiFiore Center 

An interactive holiday puppet show will be hosted this year at the DiFiore Center, at 307 N Main St, St George. This show is great for the kids and a good way to kick off the holiday season on December 16 from 7-9 p.m. For more info, visit the website here.

GENTRI’s Finding Christmas 

A cinematic pop performance put on by the trio of tenors whose Christmas album made the iTunes top 10 holiday list next to other artists like Michael Buble and Pentatonix. GENTRI will be at Dixie State University on December 18 at 7:30 pm, with $30 reserved seating to enjoy this performance with holiday classics and more. Tickets can be purchased at tickets.dsutix.com.

Wreaths Across America Ceremony

To honor deceased veterans this holiday season, Wreaths Across America Ceremony is an event at the Tonaquint and Shivwits Paiute Cemeteries to honor Amerca’s veterans by placing wreaths on their gravesites on December 16 at 10 am. This event is freeto attend. To donate to this event, you can go to donate.wreathsacrossamerica.org to help this tradition continue to grow.


An Intimate Evening – A Kurt Bestor Christmas

The 30th annual A Kurt Bestor Christmas will be held at the Lorraine Boccardo Theatre at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta offer an intimate holiday gathering with a performance from Kurt Bestor – singer, songwriter, and composer. Tickets are available at kayentaarts.com for the two performances on Friday and Saturday (December 8th and 9th) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 until Nov. 27th $40 after $60 ticket includes premier seating and after party with Kurt Bestor. For more info, visit his Facebook page here.

Temple Lights and Downtown St. George Lights

One of St. George’s most welcoming sights during the holiday season is its abundance of lights in its historic district – namely the Temple, with its grounds decorated in an abundance of multicolored lights, as well as Main Street and Town Square. Once these lights turn on in the evening, take a walk through Downtown St. George to enjoy the holiday spirit the city has to offer.

Dickens Festival 

The Dickens Festival is an annual craft and shopping show with food and live entertainment. Nov. 29 thru Dec. 2, 2017 (Wednesday through Saturday) at the Dixie Convention Center from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Olde English themed shops, costumes, and fortune tellers make this event fun for the kids and unique experience this holiday season. If you’re looking for unique gifts and quality merchandise from local vendors, this festival is great for you. This event is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors (65+), $5 for children (4-12), and children 3 and under get in for free.

Temple Lights and Downtown St. George Lights

One of St. George’s most welcoming sights during the holiday season is its abundance of lights in its historic district – namely the Temple, with its grounds decorated in an abundance of multicolored lights, as well as Main Street and Town Square. Once these lights turn on in the evening, take a walk through Downtown St. George to enjoy the holiday spirit the city has to offer.


Georgefest – St. George’s Hub for Culture, Food, and Music

Georgefest, St. George’s once-a-month festival, is in full swing this fall. For the first Friday of every month, main street is closed off and transformed into a festival with live music, street vendors, food, booths, and more. Local businesses open their doors to the flood of locals and travelers that fill the streets during Georgefest. Not only does this event promote St. George’s historic district, it brings the community together and celebrates the culture that thrives in St. George and Southern Utah.

Georgefest is a hub for local crafters and artists to showcase and sell their work to the public. Different local music artists are hosted for each Georgefest, playing throughout the evening. While the weather is cooling down significantly, what better way to spend a crisp fall evening than with friends, good food, and live music? The Desert Pulse Jazz Garden (21+), has a $5 entry and is great for trying local beers and brews, but Georgefest itself is free to attend.

For visitors in town after a long day of hiking in Zion National Park or Snow Canyon, Georgefest is a perfect way to wind down and enjoy the culture and food that St. George has to offer. While you can enjoy the local antique shops, art galleries, retail shops, cafes, and restaurants located in Downtown St. George, there are activities and fun for the kids as well. This non-profit event occurs from 6-10 pm every first Friday of the month and has multiple artists throughout the night playing at both stages – the Main Street stage, and at the Jazz Garden.

The purpose of this event is to promote St. George’s downtown historic district, and to celebrate the best of southern Utah with all of you!  The goal of the event is to establish a rich sense of community in the heart of the City, to celebrate local artists, and to provide a clean and safe nightlife entertainment option for local residents and tourists. The event features a signature street concert, buskers, and goods sold by local artists, farmers and merchants.Engagement components include the Passport to the City program, George Jr. Treasure Hunt for Kids, and the George Jazz Garden at Ancestor Square.

    – Organizers of Georgefest

The executive director of the event, Melynda Thorpe, has many years of experience in branding across Southern Utah. Thorpe is a brand strategist at SUU’s Marketing Communications Office, and worked as director of publications and creative services at UVU. She is also on the board of directors of Arts to Zion, showing deep roots to Southern Utah and a dedication to the culture here.

“It is my hope that this beloved monthly event will remain a permanent part of the southern Utah entertainment landscape for many years to come,” Thorpe said about Georgefest.

For more information on Georgefest, visit georgestreetfest.com. For vendors, music artists, and volunteers interested in participating in this event, click here for more information. 

Hidden Gem Hikes Around St. George

Red Mountain Trail 

Just 12 miles north of Bluff Street on SR-18, Red Mountain Trailhead is a quiet but stunning trail that overlooks Snow Canyon. This overlook has a similar feel and grandeur overlook of Angel’s Landing, without the danger of the infamous last stretch of narrow rock and chains required to traverse the last portion of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

The trailhead starts just past Diamond Valley, with a grand view of the Pine Valley Mountains. A small marked sign points westward as you approach the turnoff, and the trailhead starts close to SR-18. Bathrooms and a parking lot are available at the turnoff. Once you start on the hike, a slight incline on a rocky trail continues as you travel in a southwestern direction. The further you go on the trail, the forest of juniper and pinion becomes denser. While the trail is easily distinguishable most of the time, if it’s difficult to tell what direction to go at any time, continue to take the wide, left-ward paths.

Occasional cairns (stacks of rocks, and in this case, red sandstone) will mark the direction of where to go in situations where it’s a little harder to discern. Overall, the trail is fairly even and steady, without any sections that are overly steep or require you to climb on your hands and knees. Towards the end of the trail, the trail becomes sandy, which can be difficult to walk through for the elderly, small children, or those who have a hard time walking. Once you have reached the end of the trail, you are greeted with a stunning view overlooking the dead center of Snow Canyon from the back (north) side of the state park. White and red sandstone cliffs tower over the gentle terrain at the bottom of the canyon, and in the distance, you can view parts of Ivins, Santa Clara, and St. George. To head back, take the same route back to the trailhead.

This trail is 4.8 miles roundtrip, and generally takes 1 hour and 15 minutes each way (2.5 hours round trip) at a steady pace. At a slower pace, this hike will take closer to 3 hours. Bring plenty of water, as there are no water sources along the trail. This is an easy to moderate trail that’s free, beautiful, and great for all hiking skill levels  

Red Mountain Trail, Overlooking Snow Canyon

Anasazi Trail in Ivins

Another beautiful trail with little traffic is the Anasazi Valley Trail, or Tempi’po’op trail. This hike is an easy trail as well, and 3.5 miles roundtrip. For those interested in Native American history, this trail showcases plenty of petroglyphs – right in the open. This can also be an educational hike for the kids.

To get there, head west on Sunset boulevard for 7 miles. On the left, a sign will say, “Santa Clara River Reserve – Anasazi Valley Trailhead”. After a short dirt road that is less than a few hundred feet long, the trailhead will be on your left. Again, bring plenty of water on this hike, especially if it’s during the hotter months of the year.

There are two trails available to get to the top. The trail to the right is the shorter, steeper trail, although it is encouraged to take the left trail, as this one is the official trail and is easier for kids and stroller access. At the top of the trail, not only are there a striking array of petroglyphs to view, but old Anasazi Farmstead ruins are at the top of the trail as well. Not only does this hike have historical and cultural value, but it’s a beautiful hike showcasing Southern Utah’s red rock as well.