71472958 - food truck festival blurred on purpose

Though this year’s Anthem Days will require more social distancing, it will still serve its original intended purpose of bringing the community together. 

Last year’s Anthem Days was one of the many events residents had to cross off their calendars when COVID-19 hit, leading to restrictions on large gatherings. But with things taking a turn for the positive and more distance being placed between carnival rides, vendor booths and crowds, the event shall prevail for its 21st year. 

The public, all-ages event will be held at Anthem Community Park on May 1 and May 2, and the Frazier Shows Carnival will be in town from April 29 until May 2. Enhanced COVID-19 protocols will be in place, and attendees must wear masks.

This year’s event will look similar to past Anthem Days, as attendees can expect to see a variety of carnival rides, food trucks, vendors, and live DJ entertainment. After all, with the complications of COVID-19, it wasn’t the time to make any “sweeping changes,” said Kristi Northcutt, Anthem Community Council senior director of community relations.

“We’re just trying to get back in front of the community this year,” Northcutt said. “We’re trying to make it as traditional as possible, because we know that everyone really enjoys it, and without having it last year, we know people just want to get back to it.”

That said, more crafts vendors will be featured than usual. One hundred vendors set up shop at the outdoor event each year, but with this year’s annual Autumnfest canceled, the Anthem Community Council wanted to make it up to them by offering space at Anthem Days. The Anthem Community Council is currently seeking participants.

“We’ve had a great response so far,” Northcutt said. “We’re getting some sponsors lined up and we have a good start to the registration.”

The call for vendors is open through April 9, and businesses, nonprofits as well as crafts vendors can register to take part at onlineatanthem.com. Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce members who are in good standing get a discount, Northcutt said.

“People are excited to get back out in the community and enjoy our special events, and we’re looking forward to offering it to the community,” she explained.

Attendees may notice a slight change of season, as the event normally takes place at the end of March. Temperatures may be a bit warmer in May, but the Anthem Community Council wanted that extra time to ensure it could follow all COVID-19 regulations and protocols, Northcutt explained.

“We wanted to be sure that we could get the green light and make it an event that everyone could enjoy,” she added.

COVID-19 protocols may affect which carnival rides will be a part of the event, but the Anthem Community Council hopes to feature the same traditional rides always offered. Carnival attractions in the past have included funhouses, slides, a Ferris wheel, as well as mini coasters and rides for the little ones, like a carousel as well as a little car train ride.

But it’s the large swings that are usually the main attraction, Northcutt said. The popular ride raises people up to great heights, giving them a “beautiful” 360-degree aerial view of the entire park as well as Daisy Mountain.

This attraction as well as the Ferris wheel are crowd favorites because “people love getting to the top and being able to look out over the whole park,” she said.

“I love Anthem Days because it really gives the opportunity for Anthem businesses to showcase themselves to the community,” said Northcutt, who has attended these events for the past seven years that she’s been with Anthem.

In fact, this was its original purpose when it first started in 1999, Northcutt noted. Pulte/Del Webb wanted to “mesh the commercial areas with the residential areas and have it be this unified community,” she explained.

“It’s just really important for people to have the chance to interact with our businesses, and to have them all in one place is really cool,” she said.

“Anthem’s not big, but if you wanted to see every business, it takes you a little while,” she said. To have many of the area businesses altogether in the park on the same day makes for a “really fun experience.”

As businesses aren’t able to interact with each other all the time, this gives vendors a chance to build those connections.

“That’s a pretty neat aspect of living in a community like ours,” she said.

More details on Anthem Days will be released as the event gets closer. Food trucks looking to be a part of this year’s event can contact the Anthem Community Council’s special events manager, Debbie Pulido, at dpulido@anthemcouncil.com

—Staff writer Sarah Donahue can be reached at sdonahue@timespublications.com