ST. GEORGE – The Fourth of July is a holiday for Americans to remember their freedom and how this country has grown through hard times to be a great nation.
Throughout Washington County, Southern Utahns and their guests celebrated America’s Independence Day with no shortage of participants and patriotic spirit.
Temperatures reaching as high as 109 degrees were no deterrent as gatherings of all ages were held in nearly every municipality, raising hands and singing the national anthem, marching in parades, holding flag-raising ceremonies and enjoying pancake breakfasts, fun runs and games throughout the day. At nightfall, fireworks were seen across the skies, with booms and bangs heard in every neighborhood.
In St. George, the day began with an Uncle Sam 5K Fun Run followed by a traditional hearty breakfast at Vernon Worthen Park served up by Staheli Catering, games, contests and activities for everyone throughout the day including rock climbing, a Slip ‘n Slide, competitions and horse-drawn carriage rides. The day’s festivities culminated with 99.9 KONY Country’s concert at the Dixie Sunbowl and a giant fireworks show visible for miles, accompanied by Canyon Media’s patriotic production of music and narration broadcast live over radio.
During the fireworks program, spectators began to see a free-floating light that appeared to be flying around the area where the fireworks were detonated. The light was later determined to be a remote-controlled plane controlled by a private individual. It was not an official part of the fireworks presentation.
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Videocast of City of St. George events by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
Washington City celebrated with a Lions Club breakfast and activities at Veterans Park. Old and new generations gathered to hear veterans share their stories.
Hurricane, with the help of its own Lions Club, served up breakfast and a parade. One could feel the unity of the people as they congregated on Main Street, watching for fire engines, police cars and representatives of local businesses in the colorful parade. Coming together, citizens enjoyed activities, showed their pride and gave honor to the flag of the United States.
Nearby LaVerkin held a hike through Confluence Park, a parade and flag-raising ceremony, followed by a day of family-oriented festivities in Wanless Park. There were women singing 70s songs, games for kids, a concert and plenty of food and drinks for partygoers.
Videocast of Washington City, Hurricane and LaVerkin events by Felix Vega, St. George News
Other cities and towns held similar events in celebration of America’s freedoms and foundation. Big thanks went out across the county to all of those currently in the armed forces, as well as veterans.
Law enforcement was also busy across the county, as areas were patrolled for fireworks being used in restricted areas and responses to calls concerning such. Around 9 p.m. in LaVerkin, the Hurricane Valley Fire District responded to a small brush fire set off near a residence due to fireworks being launched in a restricted area. The fire was extinguished less than 10 minutes later with no damage to property or injuries reported.
Events continue throughout the holiday weekend. To find some of them, visit our weekend guide here: Fourth of July weekend guide to Southern Utah events.
Extreme fire conditions continue in Southern Utah, and many fireworks and other restrictions are in place. To see those in specific areas throughout the region, see our guide here: Fire and fireworks restrictions guide, Southern Utah 2013.
St. George News Editor in Chief Joyce Kuzmanic, Assistant Editor Mori Kessler, reporter-videographers Samantha Tommer and Felix Vega contributed to this report.
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