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BLOG, Culture and History, Events

Annual Bolivian Festival Near Provo Utah

By Katerina Gasset

Updated for August 2023

Check out the exciting details to this year's Annual Bolivian Festival by reading more about it below or by clicking on this link:

https://movetoprovoutah.com/when-is-the-3rd-annual-bolivian-festival-in-orem-utah/


An annual Bolivian festival in Provo/Orem? Yup, and it’s a blast! 

The annual Bolivian Festival in Provo/Orem brings South American flavor to northern Utah. 

This one-day event offers a taste of the Andes, with live music, traditional dance performances, and activities for kids. 

Each year there is a competition to find the next Miss Bolivia Utah. This festival allows locals to learn more about this culture and its traditions while also experiencing something and having fun with friends and family.

(Hint: It’s not just about music!)


Bolivian craft and apparel sold at the Annual Bolivian Festival


What is the Bolivian Festival? 

I was excited to go to Utah’s Carnival Boliviano this year. I heard it was a great event, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a new festival, put on in 2022 for the second year. 

The festival celebrates the culture and heritage of Bolivia with food, music, and dance. This cultural event brings together the community and residents from all over Utah Valley.

The festival is also a way to raise awareness about Bolivian culture and to promote understanding and respect for Bolivian traditions. 


When and where is the Annual Provo/Orem Bolivian Festival?

Please bookmark this page because it is updated each year. As soon as we have the 2023 information for the Bolivian Festival, we will post it here on this page. 

Event Details

Cost to go: FREE Admission 

Date: August 26, 2023

Where: The Orchard at University Place in Orem

My friend and church member, Susy Lisi, put on this event. She is the director and founder of the non-profit  El Chasqui Foundation. 

All the money they bring in during this event goes to help feed the homeless, clothe them, and help the poor locally here and in Bolivia. 


What to do and see at the Bolivian Festival?

The Bolivian Festival is a fantastic event that celebrates the country’s rich culture and traditions. It is great for the whole family.

Showcasing Bolivian arts and crafts at the annual festival

Annual Festival at Provo/Orem displaying Bolivian handmade crafts

There’s something for everyone at this fun-filled festival, from exciting performances and live music to delicious food and unique crafts for the kids. 

When I arrived at the carnival, there was already a large crowd. It was a beautiful day, and the atmosphere was festive.

Food vendors, games, and booths were set up around the park, and people were enjoying themselves. I wandered around for a while, taking in all the sights and sounds. 

Be sure to stop by the vendors' area for beautiful Bolivian hand-made jewelry and apparel, and don’t forget to check out the traditional costumes–they’re really impressive! 

Finally, it was time for the main event: the parade. People gathered along the street to watch as dancers, musicians and floats passed by. It was so colorful and vibrant! 

It was fascinating to watch the dancers move gracefully across the stage. There were a large variety of costumes among the dancers. I was mesmerized by the beauty and color of the outfits. It was really fun to see all the different designs. 

Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy yourself at the Bolivian Festival! 


Bolivian Food at the Annual Festival in Provo/Orem


Bolivian Food at the Festival in Provo/Orem

I was excited to try some traditional Bolivian food at the festival. This was the first time for me! 

There were many food booths, and it was hard to decide what to order! 

My kids and grandchildren each wanted something different, so we each ordered a different dish. 

The kids were excited as they placed their orders. They couldn’t wait to try them all. We sat down and shared everything, and it was all so good! 

The Salteñas were the first to come out, and the kids eagerly took a bite. They were delicious–spicy and savory. 

Next came the Chicharron meal. It was a huge portion, but the kids devoured it in no time. The pork was crispy and flavorful and went perfectly with the rice and beans. 

My grandkids loved the chicharrones (pork rinds). They said it was like eating bacon bits! 

Some of my favorite dishes were the empanadas and the Ilapingachos. The Ilapingachos were especially good–they’re potato pancakes with cheese on top, and they were so delicious! 

Annual Bolivian Festival in Provo/Orem Food

Bolivian culture showcased through food at the Annual Bolivian Festival

I also ordered Silpancho. It was so yummy! Silpancho is made with beef, roasted potatoes, and a fried egg on top. This was a meal in itself as it was very filling. The beef was cooked perfectly, and the potatoes were trendy with a crunch on the outside, similar to home fries but cut in squares. The fried egg added a delicious richness to the dish that took it over the top. I would definitely order this again! 

Fun Events Near Provo Utah

I pondered on why these meals were made this way. My Silpancho had a lot of carbs and protein. Since Bolivia is mostly in the rugged Andes mountains, people are out more of the day working. It would be best to eat so that you don’t get hungry for a while and have plenty of calories to burn. 

Last but not least were the Pasteles. The beef was juicy and tender, while the cheese was creamy and cheesy. Both of them were amazing!

I can’t wait to go back next year and try even more of the fantastic Bolivian cuisine. 

When I saw Susy I told her what a great job she did putting on this event. She told me that each of the food vendors were Bolivian people who needed to earn some income. No food trucks, no professionals. 

I was happy to see that there was no alcohol. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we don’t drink alcohol. 

Annual Bolivian Festival Near Provo

I discovered this fantastic Bolivian drink made from purple corn. It was delicious! It was called Chicha Morada (the non-alcoholic version). Here is how it is made: 

  • First, they soak the purple corn in water overnight. 
  • Then they grind it up and mix it with pineapple, apple, cinnamon, and clove.
  • Finally, they boil it all together and let it cool. 

It tasted sort of like sweet tea. 


One of the highlights of the annual festival - Miss Bolivia pageant

Annual Festival in Provo/Orem - Miss Bolivia

How can you get involved? 

You can get involved in the Annual Bolivian Festival in Provo/Orem in many ways. You can help with the planning and organization of the event, or you can volunteer to help out on the day of the festival. 

You can also donate items to be used at the festival, or you can help promote the event to your friends and family. Whatever you choose to get involved with, you will surely have a lot of fun and make new friends. 

Please reach out to Susy on the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/elchasquifoundation

You don’t need to be Bolivian to help out! 

Was it Worth Going to the Bolivian Festival in Provo/Orem? 

Yes, it was worth it. 

It is definitely something you need to experience for yourself!

Subscribe to my events and things to do in my Provo Utah newsletter. I promise I won't share your email with anyone else. 


Tags

Bolivian Festival in Provo/Orem, Events in Provo, Living in Provo Utah


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About the author of Move to Provo Utah Website 

Katerina Gasset

When I moved here I was blessed to have my daughter to help with different things you need to know when you move to a new place. I had background from living here before but things have changed a lot too since the '80s. 

We were able to get all the good places to eat down fast - since she knows all that and we have a lot of the same likes in food. But things like how to turn on my electricity or what power company services my home... well... I was at a total loss! 

I know that other people moving to Provo don't always have family here to guide and help them. And most people don't have a real estate agent who gives them a welcome package on all the important numbers and places they need to know. 

My goal is for this website to be your go to resource for everything you need to know before, during, and after you move here to Provo, Utah. I want you to have the best experience and love living here as much as I do

Author Katerina Gasset - photo of me the author
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