Published June 30, 2023 | By Lynn Blamires, feature writer for My Local Utah
Communities in Utah Valley have a long tradition of celebrating Independence Day in a big way. They do this by holding more than one festival during a four-day period.
The Hot Air Balloon Fest – Celebrating 38 years
You will experience about 25 of these huge balloons rising into the skies above Prove July 1, 3, and 4th from 6 to 8 a.m. Inflation begins at 6 a.m. and families will be able to walk around them and observe the process of filling these giants with hot air.
Pilots participate in the Hare and the Hound competition where “hound” balloons drop bean bags onto a target laid out by the “hare.” Pilots obtain additional points through jousting as they attempt to pop large balloons with sharp sticks 200 to 300 feet above the ground. Top pilots from around the nation come to compete in this unique and difficult event. Also, see the Balloon Glow Monday night from 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm. It is a beautiful sight to see these balloons lit up in the dark sky.
Colonial Fest – July 1, 3, and 4th
The Colonial Heritage Festival offers something for every member of the family. Visit the village apothecary shop, blacksmith, cooper, broom maker, gunsmith, spoon maker, potter, various fiber artisans, chandler, baker, Isaiah Thomas Print Shop, frontier life, school, and more. Q&A as well as audience participation programs are sure to educate and entertain. Children and families will be able to learn and play colonial games as well as hone their skills in the daily chores of the period. Military enthusiasts can visit the gun displays, experience the cannon firing on the green and watch military demonstrations from the Continental & His Majesty’s Forces. Join the Culper Spy Ring and help get messages to the key players in the battle, but be careful, or you could end up in the pillory. Take the opportunity to meet with both Patriot and Loyalist community members and ask those questions that you have been dying to know. This event will be staged at Scera Park
Freedom Days – July 3-4
These two days of fun happen on Center Street in Provo. Visit food vendors for snow cones, a Texas Twister, corn on the cob, a turkey leg, and many other international treats. Shop the vendors for handmade crafts, jewelry, quilts, and many more unique items. Enjoy live entertainment with a wide selection of musical genres.
Military History Days – July 1, 3, and 4th
Visitors will be able to walk through authentic and unique displays of World War Two-era tents and workspaces, including hands-on experiences with artifacts from WWII; instead of observing them from afar. As opposed to a regular historical display, these displays provide interactive activities that make history accessible. Visitors will be able to learn about aviation, women in service, arms, and ammunition, and more. They are located at 600 South State Street in Orem.
Every Independence Day celebration seems to have a run that they call fun and this one is no exception. Utah Valley’s celebration includes a 10K, 5K, and the Mayor’s one-mile Fun Run. You are encouraged to get decked out in patriotic garb for the run, which will be at the Kiwanis Park in Provo, 7 a.m.
Patriotic Service July 2nd
A Patriotic Service will be held at the Marriot Center at 7 p.m.
Stadium of Fire July 1st 8 p.m.
The journey returns to Stadium of Fire at LaVell Edwards Stadium on July 1st to headline the USA’s premier independence celebration and to commemorate 50 years of chart-topping music! The nation’s biggest stadium fireworks spectacle will follow Journey’s performance and an evening of patriotic celebrations—including a thrilling flyover by F-35 jets from Utah’s Hill Air Force Base.
Grand Parade July 4th in Provo – 9 a.m.
The Grand Parade is the largest of its kind in the Western United States – celebrating God, freedom, family, and Country with marching bands, professionally crafted floats, giant helium balloons, fun-filled equestrian entries, and local and national performers.
In addition to these memorable activities, Mapleton and Springville will be opening their farmer’s markets for the summer season on July 3rd. For more information on Independence Day events in Utah Valley, visit UtahValley.com.