The park was filling even before 8 a.m., the start of a fundraising breakfast prepared by the volunteer Ivins Fire & Rescue Department. Hungry patrons of all ages depleted the supply of bacon and refreshments less than a half hour later.
Cruising around the festival area in a metallic purple golf cart, Mayor Chris Hart stopped to greet attendees with a smile and handshake.
“I hope everyone enjoys their time here today,” he said. “We aim to put on a great event for these folks every year.”
Families gnawing on the last of the bacon, eggs and pancakes, vendors setting up their booths and volunteers assembling the kids’ activities dropped what they were doing and crowded along Center Street to watch the parade. A police unit from the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department started the procession just after 9 a.m., its blaring lights and siren setting the colorful, noisy tone of the morning.
Waving flags, throwing candy and glitter and twirling to upbeat music, parade participants represented local businesses (Diamond Talent Productions, Red Mountain Resort, The Home Depot) community organizations (the Boy Scouts, the Color Country Motor Club, the Washington County Democratic Party) and the city. Some walked, danced and tumbled, while others rode on floats, trucks, cars, bicycles, golf carts, ATVs, scooters and strollers. Performing arts students from Tuacahn and Snow Canyon High Schools, a youth karate club and several of Ivins’ LDS church wards also joined in, the latter with floats celebrating the pioneers and heritage of Utah.
“I’ve attended this event every year for 15 years,” Ivins resident Teresa Moore said. “The parade is my favorite part.”
Other notable participants included the 2013 Miss Ivins Royalty, the Ivins City Council, show cars from the 1930s to 2000s and a quirky family wearing pool floaties and riding bicycles, skateboards and scooters while being towed behind an ATV “in disguise” as a cardboard boat. The founder of the Kayenta desert community and an Ivins resident, Terry Marten, served as grand marshal.
Pets also joined in the fun, including a pair of Golden Retrievers walking with their owners and several smaller dogs on the sidelines. Zeus, an American Bulldog available for adoption at the Ivins No-Kill Animal Shelter, delighted the crowd with his lovable looks and easygoing personality as he walked with shelter workers. George Jones rode his recumbent bicycle down Center Street with his two Dachshunds in tow, one in a basket and the other, whom he said is sensitive to heat, in a shaded trailer.
The parade was briefly interrupted when the fire department was called to a minor fire in the area. Firefighters quickly jumped into action aboard a ladder truck that had been staged to join the procession, to the dismay of several youngsters who were promised a free ride. With the help of parade organizers, floats were held at a standstill and the crowd quickly moved aside to allow the truck to pull out of the station on Center Street and speed off to the incident.
Once the excitement of the parade, the day’s main event, was over, the crowd dispersed. Most returned to the park for activities, including games, bumper boats, a bounce house, karaoke, vendor booths and food, including snow cones, hamburgers and hot dogs from The Icebox.
Majestic white thunderheads loomed in the distance but remained at bay, keeping the event sunny and warm. The pleasant weather matched the general mood of all in attendance as they celebrated “Utah’s holiday.”
“I love this event and this day,” said Tiffany Martineau, a lifelong Ivins resident and volunteer firefighter/EMT. “It’s about unity, getting everybody together.”
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