Island Park Festival returning for third year with over 200 vendors - East Idaho News
'Biggest party in town!'

Island Park Festival returning for third year with over 200 vendors

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IDAHO FALLS – The third annual Island Park Festival is returning this month and is slated to be bigger than ever.

It’s happening July 19 and 20 at 4133 Quakie Lane near Sawtelle Mountain Resort and Connie’s Restaurant & Saloon, the sponsors of the event.

Event organizer Jean Phillips tells that weekend is one of the busiest of the tourist season and the purpose of the event is to showcase Island Park and “bring people together.”

More than 200 vendors across the U.S. will be there, including one that sells furniture made from bears and antlers, as well as a taxidermist displaying his prized animal kills. Smokey the Bear will make an appearance and there will be a live wood carving, 12 different food trucks and a live DJ.

smokey the bear
Smokey the Bear at last year’s Island Park Festival | Courtesy photo

Raffle prizes, such as a night stay at Sawtelle Mountain Resort and Black Swan Inn in Pocatello, will be available to win.

Phillips is particularly excited about having a DJ for the event, which is a new thing this year. She says they’ve also added a shuttling service to get people back and forth from the parking lot to the festival.

“It’s a fun family day to shop with fun food,” Phillips says. “Everybody loves it and keeps coming back every year.”

Phillips, a Rupert woman who recently retired from a 30-year career as a wedding and event planner, felt inspired to host this event for the first time in 2022 after seeing a small group of vendors gathered at Connie’s.

Though there were only three vendors, there were lots of people, which made it difficult to see what they were selling.

Phillips is involved in planning the Rupert City Celebration, but she and her husband have a cabin in Island Park. She was interested in hosting a similar event in Island Park in a larger venue.

She learned that Pioneer Day weekend and Labor Day weekend were two of the busiest times for tourists. It’s now an annual event held on these weekends.

“The first year I thought we’d maybe have 10 vendors. There was 100 that showed up, then 150 the next year. It’s just grown,” she says.

Phillips grew up attending events like this. Both her parents were vendors for many years. Her mom was the president of the Idaho Craft Association, according to the festival website.

She recently sold her large wedding and event venue in Rupert and now enjoys organizing the Island Park festival.

Phillips is encouraging people to attend the family-friendly event.

“Come for good food. It’s the biggest party in town!” she says.

On Friday, the festival will go from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The second festival will happen on August 30 and 31 at the same times as the July event. Both events are free to the public.