Small-town America comes alive on the 4th of July

Eliza Campbell watches the parade with her family, Cedar City, Utah, July 4, 2016 | Photo by Paul Dail, Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Smiles on young faces. The smell of sunscreen more present on the sunnier side of Main Street. Red, white and blue balloons and flags as far as the eye could see. All of these things combined Monday morning for the Cedar City Independence Day celebration and lent a sense of small-town Americana to the festivities.

With the temperatures just tipping the 80s and a light breeze in the air, the weather was perfect for bringing out the family. One such family was the Campbells. Brian Campbell was in Cedar City with his wife, Veronica, and daughter, Eliza, for a family reunion.

While the Campbells currently live in Bountiful, Brian Campbell grew up in Cedar City and said his favorite memories of the Fourth of July involve the parade.

We would line up and find the truck that was throwing out the best candy,” Campbell said, “and then follow it all the way down the parade route.”

For Brian Campbell, it wasn’t the big fireworks show put on by the city that he remembers the most but rather the smaller neighborhood gatherings.

The mad dash for candy, Independence Day parade, Cedar City, Utah, July 4, 2016 | Photo by Paul Dail, Cedar City News
The mad dash for candy, Independence Day parade, Cedar City, Utah, July 4, 2016 | Photo by Paul Dail, Cedar City News

“I love those fireworks shows we had where the family would buy all these different fireworks,” he said. “Me and my brothers would be putting on the show, running out there and lighting them as the other ones went off.”

Brian said he believed it’s important on Independence Day to remember our freedoms and those who have sacrificed for those freedoms.

“To keep those freedoms sometimes, there’s a lot that we have to do,” he said. “Do our part and be responsible. And also try to pass that on to our kids to help them have that pride in our country and that enjoyment of liberty and desire to keep that going.”

Joe Godwin, a member of the Cedar City Lions Club, would agree with Brian Campbell’s sentiments. Godwin took a break from a water balloon toss with some kids to talk to Cedar City News.

“You’ve got to engage,” he said. “It’s not enough to just talk about it, you have to engage.”

The Cedar City Lions Club has sponsored both the Fourth of July parade and events in the Main Street Park for 58 years. Fun Time Inflatables provided all of the bounce equipment on Monday, but the booths were all run by the Lions.

Godwin, who called himself “The Free Guy,” was in charge of coming up with the free games, including the water balloon toss (which he lost to a young girl), a three-legged race and bag race, among others.

Joe Godwin of the Cedar City Lions plays a water balloon toss with kids in the Main Street Park, Cedar City, Utah, July 4, 2016 | Photo by Paul Dail, Cedar City News
Joe Godwin of the Cedar City Lions plays a water balloon toss with kids in the Main Street Park, Cedar City, Utah, July 4, 2016 | Photo by Paul Dail, Cedar City News

Godwin has been in Southern Utah since 1994, and he knows a little something about engaging and bettering the community and how the whole family has to be involved. In addition to being a member of the Lions, as an optician with Mountain Eye Institute, Godwin said the “Kite Flight for Reading & Sight” program sponsored by the Lions Club is one of his favorites.

Kite Flight for Reading & Site works in cooperation with the Iron County School District, with kids filling out a reading chart and receiving various prizes at the end of the school year.

“What we’re really trying to do is to get the parents to read with the kids and try to fill the gap in wherever we can,” he said. “If you can read, you can do anything. So it’s a beautiful thing.”

Godwin said he grew up in a big city and appreciates the atmosphere he has found in events like the Cedar City Independence Day celebration more so than those from his younger years.

“If you went to an event, it was so big and so labor-intensive, it was kind of scary,” he said. “Here, it’s a little bit of a smaller-town feel, but everyone shows up for it. A little more homey feeling. This feels more Americana to me. Most of the people I’m standing around here, I don’t see them except down here, but it’s like we’re all family.”

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Email: pdail@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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