Look Up, Think Big

My mother taught me to look up, and to think big.

From the backyard of Thorpe family home in Springville, Utah, I spent many summer evenings looking up at the stars and the moon. I remember sweet, outdoor smells of freshly cut grass, blooming flowerbeds, and the abundant garden that dad ambitiously referred to as his “south 40.”

Summertime family dinners often consisted of freshly harvested garden veggies, something from the barbeque, and patio conversations lasting through sunset and into a beautiful star filled night.

I remember special times when our parents set out sleeping bags so we would not miss the crimson glow of a lunar eclipse, a crystal clear view of the Milky Way, or chance at a glimmer of the northern lights.

In childhood, I learned to love the sky. And in my teenage years, often reeling me back from adolescent distractions, mom would remind me to look at the sky and enjoy the beauty of a cluster of clouds, a snow-capped mountain, rainbow, our favorite constellations, or the moon. We often went for evening walks, and I valued this time to spend with my mom — walking, talking and enjoying the sky.

Last October, in my lap landed the conversation of starting a new, monthly first Friday event that would gather local residents and tourists at the center of town. St. George City, Downtown Merchants Group, and St. George Area Convention and Visitors Bureau were interested in joining resources to support such a celebration, and the effort needed an event designer.

Returning to the roots of our town history, it was to be a party for everyone — and an event that would return our community to the center of town one night a month for eating, dancing, connecting with friends and neighbors, and having a good time. There would be a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy, and something for everyone to do.

On Friday night, southern Utah launched a new monthly celebration designed to pay tribute to our community, and to gather together under the nighttime sky. George Streetfest on Main has been many months in the making, and finally, the festivity has begun.

Over the course of many meetings, I accepted the challenge on behalf of the very talented staff of my new marketing and media production company, Emceesquare Media & Events, and construction began. I have enjoyed my work with local annual events including DOCUTAH, Kayenta Street Painting Festival, Art in Kayenta, Heart Walk Foundation, and Equality Utah.

I haven’t retired from daytime public relations job, but I would say that I am more than thrilled to be working on a monthly event that carries throughout the evening and on into the nighttime sky. I’m excited to work together with the community to grow something we all look forward to each month, and something we can all be excited about inviting friends, family and visitors to attend because it reflects the best of who we are.

Friday, when the rain started to pour at it was 30 minutes to ribbon cutting and event launch, I walked backstage, looked up to my old friend the sky, and plead, “Please let us have this party.”

The Academy Show Band stood up with rain pelting, and began a performance that made us all forget we were standing in the middle of a storm. This stellar, local high school rock band performed with gusto, and gave a brilliant opening performance that had many moonwalking like Michael Jackson.

Busy covering equipment with tarps, lining up stage talent, and making calls to say, “We’re going forward rain or shine,” it dawned on me that I was no longer wiping rain from my binder filled with stage script pages. I realized I was we were in the clear and I was relieved.

After Beans N Wheels moved onto the stage, I heard someone say, “Look up!” I’m trained by my mother to respond to this no matter how busy I am, so I did. The sun with its bursting rays was parting the clouds and it was glorious. Up and down the stairs and with eyes on the script to keep entertainment flowing, I heard someone later say, “We have a rainbow.”

At that point, and in good Thorpe family form, I tipped my hat to the stage and pointed up, and the band took pause to say, “Look at the sky!”