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2022 a ‘banner year’ for Roaring Youth Jam

Idaho Falls

IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls River Walk Greenbelt became a magical land of fairies and fables this past weekend for the Idaho Falls Arts Council‘s Roaring Youth Jam.

The youth-focused arts festival offered a multitude of art projects to spark kids’ creativity. It also served as an opportunity for businesses in Idaho Falls to give back to the community that supports them.

“The idea behind (Youth Jam) is that all the crafts projects are provided for free by the Arts Council,” Youth Jam spokesman Don Williams said. “Kids can come down and try some different things and get experiences … to see if they like (art) and what things they enjoy.”

Youth Jam offered a wide variety of art projects for kids to try out, from painting to spin art to creating different knick-knacks. Kyle Roberts was manning the Edwards Theater booth, where kids could build their own magic wands and balloon swords. He said it’s been a real treat to see kids light up as they create art.

jam art1
Adam Forsgren, EastIdahoNews.com

“(Kids) love it,” he said. “I think (our wand project is) a nice way to give kids a creative outlet. I’ve seen so many kids who have come through and taken the magic wand and run with it. Some will sit here for a good ten minutes making multiple wands. You see that glimmer in their eyes and it’s great. I wish us as adults could return to that.”

The Timberline garrison of the 501st Legion, a worldwide “Star Wars” costuming organization that is well-known for doing projects to support their communities, was a popular attraction at the Youth Jam. The organization’s spokeswoman Erin Atwood said the group was extremely excited to be back at Youth Jam for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been really great,” Atwood said. “The city is kind of waking up after COVID and we’re really excited to come out with the community and see ‘Star Wars’ fans again.”

Atwood said that appearing at Youth Jam was an opportunity for kids to see their favorite characters up close and full size and that experiences like this can fire up a child’s imagination.

“The theme for Roaring Youth Jam this year is ‘Fairy Tales and Fantasy’ and ‘Star Wars’ is a space fantasy in a lot of ways,” she said. “A lot of these kids have played with their action figures and told those stories themselves. Now they’re seeing the characters in real-life, full-size. So we’re helping bring those fantasies to life.”

501st yj 2022
Adam Forsgren, EastIdahoNews.com

By many indications, 2022 was a banner year for Youth Jam.

“This year has been crazy,” said Gray Augustus, a spokesperson for Youth Jam title sponsor Teton Volkswagen. “This year, there’s been a significant increase in participation starting from the first day. Thursday was one of the biggest Thursdays I’ve ever seen down here and it’s held steady the entire time. There hasn’t really been a slow period.”

“We’ve gotten a lot of traffic through here all three days,” Williams said. “Thursday, Friday and Saturday have all been really, really busy. I don’t think we have an official count but just based on people getting an idea of how busy it’s been, we think this has been a banner year. We know some groups like the Idaho National Laboratory had 1,500 packets set up for people and they ran out on Friday. So we know it’s been really well-attended.”

car art yj 2022
Adam Forsgren, EastIdahoNews.com

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