KANAB – Hundreds of folks from far and near traveled to Kane County this week to attend the annual Western Legends Roundup, a celebration of Western film, Western culture and the many Western film stars who have graced the Kanab area over the years. The festival continues through Sunday.
“The Western genre is so uniquely American,” Mike Cox, who traveled from Oregon to attend the festival, said. “I think it’s important to keep that tradition alive for the young people.”
Cox and his family arrived in Kanab earlier this week to take part in the Western Legends wagon train, a four-day Old West wagon journey that, this year, featured special guest Darby Hinton, of the 1960s television show “Daniel Boone.” Cox said he and his family are planning to stay in the area for several days after the festival concludes to further explore Kane County and the surrounding area.
“(The wagon train) was the experience of a lifetime,” Cox said. “If you’re any kind of Western fan, you have to go on a wagon train once in your life.”
The chief highlight of Western Legends Roundup is, of course, the “Western legends” themselves – the stars of the silver screen who are still recognizable to Western film fans so many decades later. Among the stars at this year’s event are actors Edward Faulkner, Don Collier, Roberta Shore and Dan Haggerty, who starred in the “Grizzly Adams” films and television series.
“(Kanab) is like a second home to me, and I love it,” Haggerty said.
Family members were also on hand representing their famous relatives. Cheryl Rogers-Barnett, adopted daughter of Roy Rogers, was among the stars signing autographs and photos and selling books she has authored about her famous father. Wyatt McCrea, grandson of Western star Joel McCrea, was also present at the festival representing his late grandfather, who was the featured honoree at this year’s Western Legends Roundup.
“We love Kanab, and we love what the festival stands for – to preserve some of the Western history,” Joel McCrea said.
Gregg Sant, an information host at the festival, said Western Legends Roundup is a wonderful opportunity for both local residents and international visitors to learn more about Kanab’s film heritage. The area has served as a backdrop for hundreds of productions since the 1920s.
“(The international visitors) don’t know much about our West, so it’s interesting to them,” Sant said.
Western Legends Roundup continues Saturday with bus tours to the various film sets in the Kanab area, autograph booths featuring the stars, live entertainment, wagon rides, a street fair, Wild West shows and more. Saturday night, the Sons of the Pioneers, with guest Stan Corliss, will perform in the Kanab High School auditorium, 59 E. Cowboy Way. Tickets are $30, and the doors open at 6 p.m. Following the concert, there will be a barn dance in the Old Barn Theater at the historic Parry Lodge, 89 E. Center St., from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Western Legends Roundup concludes Sunday.
“Come enjoy our festivities and visit our town – and we’ve got a great backyard to see, also,” Sant said.
- When: Western Legends Roundup continues through Sunday, Aug. 24, with events throughout the day
- Where: Various locations in Kanab, Utah
- Admission: Some events free, some events ticketed
- Information: Western Legends Roundup website | 435-644-3444
Ed. note: Robert Fuller’s photo caption has been corrected.
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