Fiesta Days fires up
July 12, 2011
Independence Day celebrations may have just ended, but Kamas is already gearing up for its next big display, Fiesta Days.
After celebrating the town’s centennial on July 5, this year’s Fiesta Days celebration will focus on the history of settlers in the Kamas Valley. The festivities include a parade, fireworks, ATV rodeo and demolition derby.
"Last year we had over 70 floats in our parade. There are local companies, ones from Park City, buggies, horses; we even had a camel. They always keep the parade very eclectic," said Kamas resident Fran Meehan.
As part of the historical side of the celebrations, the town has put together a musical of the history of the first settlers.
"Many people learn new things and rediscover or reconnect with their past," said Kamas resident and play director Billie Sue McNeil. "We seem to develop a greater appreciation of our heritage as we get older."
Kamas has also compiled a history book about the town, and according to Fiesta Days coordinator Diane Atkinson, they have already sold 400 copies in just four days.
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"No matter where you’re from, this celebration and our history are very interesting," said McNeil. "We wonder what brought people here and get a good feeling from learning about our heritage."
The most popular event at Fiesta Days is the demolition derby, which sold out within two hours of tickets going on sale. This year, Atkinson is hoping people try something new and take advantage of the melodrama as well.
"We bring in the off-Broadway group from Salt Lake City. Normally tickets are around $15; we sell them for $3 as a gift to the residents," said Atkinson. "This year the play is Kung-Fooey, a Chinese Western that should be really funny."
The Fiesta Days festivities end with the residents giving back to the community and making the celebration worthwhile said Atkinson. The Memories Auction features residents donating and buying each others’ items and raises money for Primary Children’s Hospital.
"We have raised anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 in the past," said Atkinson. "Last year our mayor bought a loaf of bread for $100. This year I had a woman in her 80s call me and said she had a knitted a blanket just so she could donate it to the auction."
Settled by Mormon pioneers under Thomas Rhoades and George W. Brown in 1860, Kamas has long been known as the "Gateway to the Uintas." On July 5, 1911, the Summit County board of county commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a resolution approving the incorporation of the town, according to Atkinson.
Fiesta Days has been celebrated in Kamas since 1936. "They did take some breaks from celebrating during the war though, but now it just keeps growing bigger and bigger" said Atkinson.
Meehan invites first-timers to the festivities and encourages everyone to come enjoy the cool mountain air and a town where residents know and care about each other.
Visitors are encouraged to park anywhere they can find a spot and make a day out of it. Running between July 18 and July 24, the celebration features one main event each day and lots of smaller events like trap shooting, a car show, and Dutch oven cook-off. July 21 is kids’ night at the rodeo, with children under 10 getting free admission.
For the full schedule of events go to http://www.kamascity.net