[Source: Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News] -- An East Coast furniture craftsman who also lives part-time in Kanab is hoping a lot of people will attend Kanab's inaugural celebration of public lands next month. Dubbed the "Amazing Earthfest," the celebration was first conceived by Rich Csenge, who owns a pioneer home in Kanab's historic district. Among the events planned during the festival are a sunset photo clinic and nature walk at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (pictured), dinosaur talks and exhibits at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and a special bird display at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Angel Canyon. "We want this festival to appeal to everyone," said Csenge in a phone interview from his Maine home. "It's designed to appeal to every sort of recreation that people do nowadays, and we want the festival to focus on educating people about the landscape. It will be one of the finest opportunities for people to rediscover their relationship with the land."
The celebration is scheduled for May 21-26 in and around Kanab, with the emphasis on learning about and enjoying the public lands of the Colorado plateau located in Utah and Arizona. "There is somewhat of a disconnect between people and the land," Csenge said. "When I go into the natural world, I experience something of the creator in the creation that lies before me. That experience is somewhat lost in our modern society." The Kane County Office of Tourism is solidly behind the idea of the festival, said executive director "Cowboy Ted" Hallisey. "We have been wanting to do something like this for a while," he said. "I've always thought if we had an event that all the public land agencies could get behind, it would be very successful." Csenge said that he and his wife first experienced southern Utah several years ago. "We began learning about the parks and public lands here, and I came to the feeling that I'd like to share that with others," he said. "This festival will provide a gathering place to celebrate these amazing places. It's a way for people who haven't yet discovered it, to learn about it." [Photo source: Willie Holdman.]