Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival, Kanab Utah

Every year, our community celebrates its movie history with Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival. A celebration of film, music, poetry, rodeo, and Western heritage in true Cowboy style.

If you know John and I, or if you have stayed at The Western Star Bungalow you know we LOVE the old movie history of Kanab. It’s one of the big reasons we chose to be in Kanab. The “Western Star” is not about the cosmos for us, but the silver screen. And August is when Kanab celebrates their Western Stars!

Kanab has lots of great events every month (another reason we love it here) but this one is the biggie.

Western Legends Kanab Utah horseman


For the last 28 years, Kanab has honored and brought back the movie stars that came here, worked here, and was a pivotal part of creating “Little Hollywood” in our scenic Southern Utah community.

 But as time goes on, so do those iconic actors. This year still has a few of those we love to watch and rub shoulders with. Meet and greets with autograph signings are still on the program. 

Festus Impersonator Mark Staggs, at “Dinner with the Stars”

John and I always volunteer to help with the kick-off event “Dinner with the Stars” at the park. We look forward to seeing these folks and the fans that are so happy to sit down to a meal with those that made the West come alive for us all.

John Ford, hands-on directing

Years ago the Movie companies came, they brought jobs and opportunities to this small rural part of Utah unlike anything else.
Over the past three years, John has had the amazing experience of interviewing numerous older folks here in town as he has prepared for the launch of his Classic Car Tour (a fun retro experience in town and all around).
Many folks still remember when the movies came to town. Lots of them had jobs either in services or in the films themselves wrangling stock or riding their own horses as extras etc. And John has got to spend time with quite a few of them.
I love the stories like –
The day the Indians didn’t make it in from the Reservation and the Producer showed up at the high school looking for anyone that could ride a horse, that was pretty much everyone, so school closed for the day, and they all headed for the set.
The stories of the Rat Pack donating Band and Football uniforms to the school.
And the girls at Parrys Lodge learned to never deliver room service to Victor Matures’ room alone!

Western Legends is more than just old movies nowadays.

The “Heritage and Music festival” part of Western Legends is growing bigger and better every year.

Wagon Train, Western Legends Kanab Utah

This community has a heritage of not just “Reel” Cowboys, but “Real” live Cowboys. Each year a special tribute goes to a local Rancher and cowboy who personifies this Western life.
It touches me to the core every time as some lanky guy in Wranglers, boots, and a sweat-stained cowboy hat chokes up as he tries to give voice to what it means to him and his family to fight the good fight of taking care of their animals and this land. God bless our Cowboys.

Come and watch some of these tough and true cowboys continue in their Western heritage at the Friday night Rodeo! Complete with Bull Riding, Bare Back Broncs and more.

Country battle of the bands, Western Legends Kanab Utah

Country music is big here. Nothing brings life to the street party like live bands. Battle of the Country bands all weekend on Main Street culminates with one band taking home the $15,000 prize. Also, there is always a great ticketed Country concert on Friday night.

Western Legends Kanab Utah

One of my street favorites is the comedy wild west show with real Hollywood stuntmen who share their skills in crafting a “barroom brawl”, horsemanship and gunfights. Dr.Buck and the guys put on a fun show 3 times a day on Main street.

The Street fair offers a little bit of everything for all ages. Arts and crafts, from beautiful Native American Jewelry to Saddle makers and everything in between. Plus all the yummy Food Trucks.

Western Legends High Noon Parade Kanab Utah

What’s a festival without a parade? I love this one. Western Legends parade is short and sweet, but you really don’t want to miss the High Noon Parade on Saturday. Watch these authentic Cowboy and Cowgirls drive a herd of impressive Longhorn cattle down the middle of town. I promise you are gonna respect these animals.

Birchbark rootbeer, Western Legends Kanab Utah
John belly up to the bar

Up by the convention center, there is a small Mountain Man exhibit and demonstrations and fresh homemade birch bark rootbeer!

Wagons Ho!

Western Legends Wagon Train

Western Legends is also proud to present an authentic Wagon Train Trek!
This once-in-a-lifetime experience is led by true cowboys and experienced teamsters, horsemen, and wranglers from Western Wagon Masters, LLC. 4 days and three nights on the trail in a covered wagon or on horseback, just like those hardy souls that came before us.

John and I both have honest-to-goodness Pioneers in our family and we hope to make this bucket list trek soon. Interested? Watch this FB page https://www.facebook.com/wlwagontrain

wagon train, Western Legends Kanab Utah

These awesome teamsters hang out at Perrys Lodge all weekend and you can hitch a ride downtown in one of these authentic rigs. Plus the wagon train is part of Saturday’s Parade.

Just driving to Kanab will make you want to watch an old Western movie

Go back in time as you travel through our scenic highway and byways. Passing Red buttes and cliffs and an occasional old movie set is sure to get you in the mood to celebrate our collective Western Heritage.

Events and actual dates vary a bit from year to year, but interesting vendors, good food, old movies, music and cool events = save the end of August each year to Cowboy Up!

ps – If you would like to read how Western Legends literally changed our lives forever, check out my monthly newsletter Aug. 2021 😃

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