Utah Arts Festival preview: A sweet way to cool off, organically

June 20-23 • Daughter's allergies inspired Amber DeBirk to create line of ice pops.
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Amber DeBirk has worked a booth at the Utah Arts Festival before, selling her fused-glass artwork.

This year, the Salt Lake City artist is setting up shop at a different part of the event: The food row.

DeBirk is proprietor of Wasatch Pops, which sells ice pops and shaved ice from a trailer at the weekly Millcreek Community Market and other events.

She started the business because her oldest daughter, Indy, now 7, had severe food allergies and couldn't enjoy the summer treats other kids ate.

It started with organic syrups over shaved ice, she said, and branched into ice pops — all of them vegan and nut-free. "We've had fun with it," she said.

DeBirk offers flavor combinations you typically won't see in your grocer's freezer. One of her most popular is a cucumber citrus cilantro. "I still get the strange look, like 'That's a popsicle?!?'," she said.

At the Utah Arts Festival, DeBirk will be selling six flavors of ice pops — named Indy Pops, in honor of her daughter. "She's my best sampler," DeBirk said, though Indy's little sister Willa, age 6, helps out, too.

The six flavors are: cucumber citrus cilantro, coconut lime with fresh mint (sweetened with agave nectar), strawberry balsamic with black pepper, pineapple/serrano chile, Utah peach and raspberry lemonade.

Wasatch Pops joins a food line-up that includes barbecue, crepes, pizza, cheesesteak sandwiches, kabobs, hot dogs, fruit juices, nuts, gelato, ice cream, and ethnic dishes from Greece, Japan and Peru.

As a first-timer on the festival's food row, DeBirk did some scouting. She went to the Utah Pride Festival early this month at Washington Square, near where her cart will be located, to check out how the vendors there handled the crowd.

"When I saw the lines, I decided to double up," she said. She now plans to make between 300 and 500 ice pops to sell each day to hot festivalgoers. "I'm probably overprepared," she said.

DeBirk will be selling from an old-fashioned cart, with an umbrella to ward off the June sun.

"I wish I could bring our trailer," she said of Wasatch Pops' trademark camper. "At least it's got air conditioning."

spmeans@sltrib.com —

Utah Arts Festival

Where • Library Square, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City.

When • Thursday through Saturday, June 20-23.

Hours • Noon to 11 p.m. each day.

Admission • $12 a day for adults; free for kids 12 and under; $6 for seniors 65 and older; $35 for a 4-day pass.

Discounts • $10 opening-day special Thursday only; $6 lunchtime special, Thursday and Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; and a "y'all come back" pass, good for 2-for-1 admission on a return visit, available upon exit.