CEDAR CITY — Cedar City’s annual Independence Day celebration will be taking place on Monday this year, one day after the actual Fourth of July.
The daylong celebration starts with a downtown parade in the morning, continues with midday festivities at Main Street Park and winds up with a professional fireworks show at the airport at dusk.
For the third straight year, the parade will feature a popular series of floats with live actors bringing to life iconic scenes from early U.S. history, said Beth Stephenson, chairman of the Cedar City Lions Club Spirit of ‘76 Independence Day Parade.
“We’re excited to do it again, because we have had such positive feedback about it,” Stephenson told Cedar City News earlier this week at Midtown Tire and Auto, where several volunteer workers were starting the weeklong process of bringing the floats and decorations out of storage and getting them ready for action once again.
The various floats depict such scenes as Paul Revere’s ride, the signing of the Constitution, George Washington crossing the Delaware River, the first battle of the Revolutionary War, Betsy Ross’s flag, the Boston Tea Party and Valley Forge.
More than 70 costumed volunteers help stage the reenactments, Stephenson noted.
“I think it’s a real uniting force for our community,” she added. “It feels like people really can get behind it. So many people love our country, but it’s almost like nowadays, you almost fear when you say that, because there’s been so many negative things that have been happening.”
A brand-new float has been added to the series this year, making 11 floats in all, Stephenson said. Titled “Freedom Isn’t Free,” the new float is a representation of the iconic white grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery.
In addition to the patriotic float segment, Monday’s parade is scheduled to include the usual assortment of other entries, including those featuring local businesses, elected officials and candidates, rodeo royalty, classic automobiles, school bands, dance groups and the like.
The Lions Club will be awarding cash prizes to the top three entries that best embody the theme of this year’s parade, which is “The Spirit Lives On … ‘76.”
The parade is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Center Street and 300 West in Cedar City. It will head east from that point for three blocks before turning left onto Main Street and then continuing north for four more blocks until reaching 400 North. Spectators are invited to line up and watch from either side of the streets, but are cautioned to stay safely out of the way of passing vehicles, trailers and animals.
Immediately following the conclusion of the parade, the Cedar City Lions Club is sponsoring a variety of free and family friendly activities at Main Street Park, lasting until 2 p.m.
Then, just as it gets dark around 10 p.m., the city’s annual fireworks show will take place. The pyrotechnics will be shot off from their traditional spot at the Cedar City Regional Airport. The show should be readily visible from most parts of the surrounding community.
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