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Majority of events canceled at Farmington park due to flooding

Jun 7, 2023, 8:12 PM | Updated: 8:40 pm

FARMINGTON, Utah — A room full of dancers at a Kaysville studio moved to majestic music, practicing for their upcoming show called Narnia.

One dancer jumped and flipped across the room, preparing to dazzle families with his impressive moves.

Illume Dance Company co-owners Emily Bokinskie and Cami Wardle co-wrote the original stage adaptation, which is licensed by the C.S. Lewis Company.

“It’s at the outdoor amphitheater, Woodland Park,” Bokinskie explained. “It creates a really beautiful scene. The forest is literally the backdrop.”

Using the forest as their stage and the sky as their lighting, they say the audience sits on the grass, on blankets and chairs– making for a fun summer outing.

They were set to perform this weekend but experienced a minor setback: The entire park is underwater.

“We thought about inviting the audience to come with a swimsuit and floaty,” Wardle joked.

Farmington City Mayor Brett Anderson said Woodland Park began flooding in late April, reaching its peak in May. But now into June, runoff from the creek that runs through the park is still flowing through the field that serves as the amphitheater seating area.

The park is actually designed to flood like this, he explained, because it’s a secondary detention pond.

“If it if it wasn’t here, this water is going to overflow somewhere else. And what we don’t want it to do, is hit that neighborhood right there,” he said, pointing downstream. “So we build these catch basins here to kind of contain the excess volume and then funnel it through.”

Even if the park is working as planned during high water, it doesn’t help all the events that were designed to take place this spring and early summer.

The city did give everyone a head’s up to make alternate plans, Mayor Anderson explained.

“People will reserve this for weddings, birthday parties, plays, micro concerts, things like that,” he said. “In about February and March, we started, because we were anticipating this, we said, ‘Look, if you need to cancel, you can cancel.'”

He said about 75 percent of events were canceled, but others waited to see how bad the flooding would get and when it would die down.

In the meantime, Woodland Park has become a popular spot for kids to skimboard.

On a sunny day, children ran around the park screaming and sliding on the water.

“The intended use for this spring has totally changed,” Mayor Anderson said, referencing the skimboarding kids. “So people are making the best of a bad situation, and it’s difficult for those that had a wedding planned.”

It’s also difficult for Narnia, which took months of planning and rehearsing. Wardle and Bokinskie said they have 40 adult dancers and 40 student dancers.

Bokinskie said they’re grateful for all the water the earth has received, but they did have to devise a backup plan early last week to postpone the show until performers can dance on dry ground.

“We thought about relocating, but it is such a perfect spot,” Wardle said. “We felt like this story is important enough for us to share it with our community. We want to do it the right way, so we decided it was worth pushing it back to a later date to make it right.”

Narnia will now take place at Woodland Park on Sept. 29th and 30th, giving Illume Dance Company more time to rehearse and find sponsors for the show.

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Majority of events canceled at Farmington park due to flooding