Editor’s Note: How to Love Utah

It was 40 years ago, I was at the Sandcastle Theater, in Woods Cross, marveling at the film Footloose. It wasn’t that the movie itself was a marvel. I was marveling because I recognized the places on the screen. While the film is set in a fictional midwestern town, I could see Utah up there in 35mm.

The Wasatch Front rises over nearly every scene. I had been to the farmland where the film’s wild chicken fight occurs (it was filmed on a schoolmate’s uncle’s property). I had been to the Lehi Roller Mills, where Kevin Bacon’s Ren McCormack works. And, in a sense, I had been to Payson High School, which looked (and still looks) like pretty much every Utah high school of that era.

In this issue, we chronicle the making of Footloose (“Cuttin’ Loose in Payson”) and last spring’s successful efforts by Payson High’s Class of 2024 to bring Kevin Bacon back to his old dance floor. In pulling the story together, it reminded me of that 1984 moment of, well, call it cinematic vertigo. The movie made me feel like I was from somewhere not just anywhere. I came from an actual place and it’s a place that I still love 40 years later.

Thus the theme of our centerpiece article, Salt Lake magazine’s Best of the Beehive. Each year, we share our favorite and readers’ favorite things, and this year, we decided to share the reasons we love Utah. And although we could only cram about 75 (ish) onto the pages, you’ll discover plenty to love.

Need even more proof that Utah is the best place to live? Read our 2023 Best of the Beehive issue here!

See more stories like this and all of our culture and community coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah. 

Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pughhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Jeremy Pugh is Salt Lake magazine's Editor. He covers culture, history, the outdoors and whatever needs a look. Jeremy is also the author of the book "100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die" and the co-author of the history, culture and urban legend guidebook "Secret Salt Lake."

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