Fiesta Days kicks off in Kamas
July 21, 2009
Fiesta Days in the Kamas Valley began in the 1930s when families would drive for several hours on rutted, rocky roads to enjoy breakfast in the Uinta Mountains.
The celebration, though, was suspended until the ’60s when Kamas resident Randy Taylor began helping revamp the Pioneer Day party with a demolition derby, rodeo, beard-growing contest and authentic Western melodrama.
"The Lions Club decided they needed festivities in Kamas, so they started it up again," Kamas resident Ileane Taylor said.
Randy and Ileane Taylor are the grand marshals of this year’s Kamas Valley Fiesta Days parade.
"I can remember we hanged a guy one year," Randy Taylor joked about a Western skit performed at Fiesta Days about 40 years ago.
Decades ago, with breakfast at Moosehorn campground underway, men dressed as Native Americans would also pretend to raid camps during Fiesta Days, he recalled.
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"It was just good fun. I saw one guy get pancake batter turned up on top of his head when the Indians came through," Taylor said. "They dressed up as Indians and came in on their horses."
But Fiesta Days soon grew too large for the Kamas Valley Lions Club to manage. So the city of Kamas started promoting the event.
"We used to have to haul grills up there, and chairs and it was basically a lot easier here," Taylor said in a telephone interview from his Kamas home.
Along with the location, the spirit of Fiesta Days has also changed over the years, he said.
"It is much more commercialized," Taylor said.
The celebration now boasts vendors, a talent contest and fireworks.
"We organized the demolition derby and it’s the biggest thing Kamas now has," Taylor said. "It sells out probably a day and a half after the tickets go on sale."
Meanwhile, Taylor recalled a pit being built at a park in Kamas in the 1960s so meat could be cooked during Fiesta Days.
"You could put eight halves of beef in at once. It was a big pit," he said. "It would cook for 12 to 14 hours then they would have a barbecue in the afternoon."
The celebration in Kamas, which is a small farming community east of Park City, often came between harvests, Taylor explained.
"It was just a bunch of the cowboys turning loose to let off a little steam for a day or two," he said. "Normally, it hit pretty good because it was after the first crop of hay and before the second crop of hay, so everybody had a day off or two to take a deep breath and relax."
Roy resident Jayson Stump, who owns Pure Spin Promotions, has been a vendor in Kamas at the last five Fiesta Days celebrations.
"It’s a small, close-knit community in Kamas, Peoa, Oakley and Francis," Stump said. "They always treat us really nice and I’d encourage people from the outlying areas to come in for that hometown feel."
At the festival, Stump’s company provides amusement rides for kids.
"This is one of the most open feeling places, where you don’t feel guarded at every turn trying to protect your kids from who knows what," Stump said.
Kamas Valley Fiesta Days events scheduled this week include:
July 22 Volleyball at 6 p.m. at Kamas City Park; All terrain vehicle rodeo at 7 p.m. at the Kamas Rodeo Arena
July 23 Kid’s Night at Kamas City Park from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Rodeo at 8 p.m. at the Kamas Rodeo Arena; Fireworks
July 24 Lions Club scholarship breakfast at Kamas City Park from 8 to 10 a.m.; Car show at Kamas City Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Dutch oven-cooking contest at Kamas City Park at 8:30 a.m.; Horse shoe contest at 10 a.m. at Kamas City Park; Talent performance at 11:30 a.m.; Charity auction at Kamas City Park at 12:30 p.m.; Parade on Main Street at 5 p.m.; Bull wars at 8 p.m. at the Kamas Rodeo Arena; Fireworks
July 25 Fun run at 7 a.m.; Kids parade at 10 a.m.; Concert in the park at noon; Fiesta bingo at 1 p.m.; Lions Club trap-shooting contest at 1 p.m.; Horse relay at 3:30 p.m.; Demolition derby at 7 p.m. at the arena; Fireworks