Did you know Utah is home to a Yo-Yo National Grand Master? Or that Bob and Al Walkenhorst have been baking at Carol’s Pastry Shop for 67 years? Or that Antelope Island holds an annual bison roundup?
Explore what makes Utah unique with KUED’s new flagship series, “This is Utah.” Celebrate the diverse stories of the people and communities throughout the state, as told through the voices of individuals who call Utah home. Discover how a distinctive mix of independent Western attitude, inspiring landscapes and a pioneer heritage informs who we are, where we came from and where we are going.
The eight-part weekly series premiered on May 23 on KUED. KUED travels around the beehive state to shine a light on vibrant stories about the people, arts, food, culture and events that make Utah an interesting place to live. “This is Utah” delivers an immersive experience from “aha” moments about how the landscape affects us, to curious, slice-of-life stories that reaffirm why we choose to live here.
“This is Utah” host and story producer, Liz Adeola, invites viewers to join her on a journey around Utah’s sweet spots, from Ogden to Tremonton, and Boulder to Sundance. Along the way, Adeola meets some amazing people, who share their stories and experiences that ignite their passion to live life to the fullest. She highlights the people and communities that make Utah special—their art, culture and heritage; and of course, the place itself.
For example, in the premiere episode of “This is Utah,” you get a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of Utahns in showbiz who are passionate about telling stories: be it through film, dance, or music. The episode shines a spotlight on the hard work that goes into creating entertainment that delights audiences.
Follow Mimi Davis Taylor, a film location scout for movies, commercials, and photoshoots as she travels across the state from rustic small towns, to urban cityscapes, and to Utah’s famous red rock country in search of the perfect shooting location. With so many varied backdrops, Utah is a magnet for filmmakers, and it’s Mimi’s job to keep them coming back.
See the colorful costumes and intricate dance techniques of the BYU International Folk Ensemble. Members of this student ensemble are taught to switch between different cultural dance styles. They perform in Utah as well as on the world stage. Regardless of where they perform, the dancers are remarkable ambassadors of culture, tradition, and identity.
Travel back in time with Joe McQueen, who came to Ogden’s 25th Street in the 1940s as a young saxophone player and went on to become the first African American in Utah to have his own racially integrated band. Known as Utah’s “King of Jazz,” Joe celebrates his 100th birthday this year and continues to perform at community events, weddings, and clubs in Ogden and Salt Lake City.
Throughout the premiere season, “This is Utah” guides viewers through a curated collection of vibrant stories. The remaining seven episodes will continue to deliver all that is extraordinary about the people and communities in Utah.
Visit notable Spring City, one of only two cities in the U.S. on the National Register of Historic Places. Reminisce about a bygone era by stepping inside pioneer-era homes during Spring City’s Heritage Days, and meet a few of the enthusiasts who lovingly restore these charming homes.
Delight in the act of lending a helping hand with the Spice Kitchen Incubator. What the Spice Kitchen offers up is a recipe to help refugees celebrate their roots while building a new future in Utah. Learn firsthand how a Bhutanese refugee family fulfilled their dream of opening and running their own restaurant with the help of the Incubator.
Catch Olympic speed skater Jerica Tandiman in action as she gracefully speeds over ice. She started skating when she was 7 years old, because the Utah Olympic Oval was near her home in Kearns. When she’s racing against the clock she keeps her mind clear and lets her body do the rest. Even with all of the grueling training, she still finds time to skate for fun because she loves the sport and the thrill of going fast.
Enjoy these stories and more in the premiere season of “This is Utah.” As Utah’s storyteller, KUED is proud to bring stories like these to life. Working on the series has been a labor of love for everyone involved at KUED.
When asked what her favorite moment is from the series, Adeola said her favorite moment is yet to come. “Getting to share ‘This is Utah’ with our dedicated viewers and the greater Utah community is what I look forward to most. Learning about all these perspectives, you can’t help but catch the excitement. It’s contagious and makes you see Utah through a brand-new lens.”
“This is Utah” Executive Producer Nancy Green said, “I hope that audiences see Utah from another, more interesting angle and gain a greater sense of shared community.” Ultimately, “This is Utah” is a collage of all things Utah, and viewers across the state will get a fascinating glimpse into the unique people and communities that make Utah such a vibrant place.
Thursday, June 20, 7 p.m. – A Leg Up
Thursday, June 27, 7 p.m. – Food for Thought
Thursday, July 4, 7 p.m. – (Encore) Celebrating Our Heritage
Thursday, July 11, 7 p.m. – Small Town, Big Vision
Thursday, July 18, 7 p.m. – Go Dog Go
Read more here.