"It's hard to talk about it without getting emotional. That's Fiesta Days for me," said Atkinson, Kamas City Councilwoman and chairman of Fiesta Days. "We are celebrating the traditions of our valley, our Utah pioneer heritage, and the freedoms we enjoy in this community."
But Fiesta Days isn't all about solemn commemoration. An air of excitement and fun fills the town as early as the 19th of July as some of the earlier events start. Fiesta Days are just that, a fiesta.
And yet, without a doubt, the main attraction has to be the demolition derby held at the arena in the city park—a staple at Fiesta Days since the 1950s. Tickets for the event go on sale in May and are sold out within 2 days. The event brings in more than 4,000 people to Kamas said Officer Jason Johnson of the Kamas City Police Department and gets everyone in the crowd charged as they watch tons of metal collide followed by the deafening roar of an enthusiastic crowd.
"It's my favorite part of Fiesta Days," said Johnson. "It gets people pumped up."
From his unique perspective, he said that the excitement that is built up in the arena doesn't stay there. It follows the attendants to their homes all over the state—with visitors from West Valley, Salt Lake, Morgan and farther away making the trek to see more than 20 amateur drivers collide.
Fiesta Days also offers something a bit more cerebral. A melodrama is held on the 23rd in the South Summit Middle School. "The Lone Texas Walker Ranger" will be presented by The Off Broadway Theatre" for a meager $3 admission price. There is also a 5k fun run, a car show, and many more events going on through the 27th, making sure that everyone of all ages will be entertained.
According to Atkinson, many people don't see the most important part of Fiesta Days: The preparation that goes into everything brings the community together and involves all of Kamas Valley. A feeling of inclusion is formed in the community through the effort of all of the volunteers and workers that dedicate their time and effort into the programs, selling tickets, and working the hamburger shacks. Even the Princess program — where girls aged about five dress like royalty — is meant to make everyone feel included. All participants take home a crown. After all, Atkinson added, how could you pick any five-year-old girl to be the winner of a prettiest princess contest?
Tickets are still available for many events, like the Bull Wars and Rodeo. And many other activities are free, like the two parades down Main Street. The festivities are capped off on Saturday with a raffle with proceeds going toward Primary Children's Hospital. In the past, the raffles have earned up to $25,000.
The Fiesta Days are a fun and exciting way to celebrate Utah's pioneer heritage on the 24th, and a great way to find a feeling of inclusion and community. To learn more visit the Kamas City webpage: http://mypages.allwest.com/~kamascity/fiesta.html
Anthony Gostick lives in Kamas and is a senior at South Summit High School.