In Utah, the whole month of July is a celebration starting with Independence Day on 4 July and capping it off with Pioneer Day on 24 July. Both are really big deals and are celebrated big.
America’s Freedom Festival
Independence Day is celebrated the biggest in Provo with America’s Freedom Festival, the largest Independence Day festival in the country. The festival runs pretty much all year with the culmination of its competitions during a 2-3 day festival running on and around 4 July. Four major events make the grand festival what it is. These are the Stadium of Fire, the parade, the festival in downtown Provo and the patriotic fireside. Over the past three years, I have experienced parts of all of these and some of the other appendages to the festival.
This year I took a front row seat at the parade, granted it was toward the end of the parade route, but it was a great seat nonetheless. We tried to find a good spot on University Avenue the day before but it was so packed you could hardly walk down the sidewalk, so we decided to stay up all night and early in the morning go stake out a place on Center Street. We got there an hour before you could officially reserve spots there and stood on the sidewalk until it was time to move to the curb. We ended up on the East side of the roundabout at 700 East. This part of the road also has a median right at the roundabout and that’s where I ended up for the parade. It was fantastic.
We were up close and personal with all of the floats, participants, bands and more. The floats alternated which way they went around the circle so we got to see both sets just as close. Some of the bands even came around both sides giving us a stereo performance with band on both sides. The only downside was the balloons that had to be lowered until they made it all the way around and past the roundabout because of low-hanging power lines. Because of this we got smothered by a couple like the Blue Angel jet. As we waited for the parade we also got to watch the hot air balloons from the balloon festival fly up over Provo from the high school. It was a fun parade and a great way to celebrate Independence Day.
This year I also visited Colonial Days at the Crandall Historical Printing Museum on Center Street. This museum is a great little place in the first place that teaches people with wonderful artifacts and demonstrations about printing through three specific print shops; Guttenberg’s, Benjamin Franklin’s and the Grandin Press in Palmyra, NY. Next to the museum, they have exhibits including a Revolutionary War encampment, ship building about the Mayflower, and historic documents including many signed by our founding fathers and items of historical patriotic significance. They have entertainment and historical interpreters who portray important characters from the early days of our country. It’s a lively atmosphere and must-see during the festival.
Holiday two coming in another post …