Since its humble beginnings as the Eagle Mountain Street Fair, ShopFest has quickly become one of Utah’s largest and most popular shop local events.

Each year, thousands of patrons gather at Cory B. Wride Memorial Park to support hundreds of Utah small and home-based businesses.

Attendance at ShopFest increases year after year, challenging all involved to make the event bigger and better than the last. Rachael Smith, ShopFest coordinator, is up to the challenge.

“I’m just excited to be a part of the event itself,” Smith says. “I’m excited that I got the opportunity to do this, and I’m excited for what can happen next year. I’m always looking to the future because this year’s going to be incredible, and I think next year is going to be even better.”

Prior to accepting the position of ShopFest coordinator in March, Smith had nine years of event planning experience.

Much like ShopFest, she started out small – assisting with festivals and fundraisers at her children’s charter school. From there, she began planning larger events as a children’s pastor at a church in Draper where she headed up several large, week-long events around Easter, Christmas and other holidays. After a year, Smith was hired at another church where she coordinated large community events that attracted thousands of people. 

“I had applied for the admin. position in the Chamber [of Commerce],” she says. “But after my interview, they called me and said they would love to have me as [ShopFest coordinator]. I was happy to take it, that was amazing.”

Upon being hired in March, Smith hit the ground running — working to secure more sponsorships for this year’s ShopFest event. Smith says that ShopFest has partnered with 25 sponsors this year and has had to turn some away due to overwhelming interest.

In addition to financial support, Smith takes pride that many of this year’s ShopFest sponsors also provide valuable services to the community. One small business, for instance, aides addicts and their families through recovery.

This year’s ShopFest is anticipated to be bigger and better than last year’s event. Patrons will be able to enjoy inflatables and hot air balloons. While preparing for this year’s event, Smith says she is also working to obtain certification for festivals and large events, opening the door to greater possibilities in ShopFest’s future.

“I want to grow my knowledge to do things that are going to benefit what I’m actually working on,” Smith says. “This one’s going to be amazing, because I would love how fun it would be to end ShopFest with a huge concert.”

In addition to the hot air balloons, inflatables and concerts, Smith would also like to add a car show to the ShopFest schedule as soon as next year.

Of course, the heart of ShopFest will always be the small businesses. More than 300 will participate in this year’s event. Vendors ranging from boutiques to services to non-profits and everywhere in between are slated to participate.

“Small businesses give more back to the community,” says Smith. “Over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy if every U.S. family spent just $10 a month at a local business. Small business is ridiculously impactful for not just our local community, but our entire economy.”

According to Smith, volunteers are just as essential to the success of ShopFest as the vendors are. ShopFest volunteers can sign up for various shifts, such as vendor check-in, booth set-up, cleaning and maintenance. Smith believes one of the most important jobs a volunteer can do is assist the vendors with their needs.

“Our vendors are going to be busy all day,” she says. “To have somebody come and say ‘hey, do you need water? Can I get you anything? How’s it going?’ It’s important that our vendors know they have somebody who cares about how they’re doing that day.”

ShopFest is currently looking for 60 volunteers for various assignments. Each volunteer will receive a free hat or shirt, and individuals who volunteer for shifts over three hours will also be provided with free lunch donated by Chick-fil-A.

Smith says one of her favorite parts about ShopFest is that it brings people from all over the state to Eagle Mountain.

“I love being able to bring people out to us…and show off some of what is happening around Eagle Mountain,” she explains. “I love so much that we have [ShopFest] in Eagle Mountain because we’re not as far away as people think anymore and we’re getting bigger and bigger.”

ShopFest will take place at Cory B. Wride Memorial Park on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.