Dozens line street for Frontier Days parade
Several dozen lined people the streets of Francis City Saturday morning wrapped in blankets and perched on truck beds while waiting for the annual Frontier Days parade to start.
Music blared over speakers and children readied their bags for candy. Heather Swanson and her 3-year-old daughter, Cecilia, found a nearby horse to pet. Swanson, a Francis resident, said they attend the parade every year.
Within a few minutes, Swanson and Cecilia returned to their lawn chairs across the street just as a Summit County deputy on a motorcycle slowly came down the road signaling the start of the parade.
Twenty two floats made their way down State Road 35 kicking off the second day of events for the three-day celebration, which coincided with the city’s sesquicentennial anniversary. City officials, rodeo royalty, local businesses and law enforcement officials participated in the parade. A visiting veteran, 91-year-old Bob Ramos, walked the entire route shaking hands with spectators who thanked him for his service.
One-year-old Hunter Stevens, of Middletown, Idaho, was all smiles as his mother, Stephanie, helped him stand up while waiting for the parade to reach him. Stevens said her husband’s family is from Francis and they came for the weekend to attend.
The nearly 45-minute long parade left a trail of candy in its wake and drew spectators to the Francis City Rodeo Arena where several booths had already opened.
One of the floats, a horse-drawn wagon holding several local military veterans, went straight to the arena for a ceremony to recognize their service.
They did several parade laps around the arena and occasionally waved to the audience as each one’s service history was read. More than 30 spectators and family members attended the ceremony.
Former Francis and Kamas residents Jeff and Judy McNeil’s parents Zola Mae, 90, and Demont Lott, 93, of Kamas, each served in World War II. Zola Mae was the only woman recognized among the veterans.
"They’re just honored," McNeil said of her parents’ reactions to the ceremony.
Francis resident Jack Prescott, a South Summit graduate of 1960, was also recognized at the ceremony. Prescott served in the United States Marines after graduating from high school.
Prescott said the public’s reaction to members of the military is strikingly different than what it was when he was enlisted. Now "people care about the military," Prescott said.
"It’s even better now than it was 10 years ago," Prescott said. "It’s terrible the way we have treated our boys in the past."
The military appreciation theme carried into the night at the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo where everyone was encouraged to wear camouflage.
Jeremie Forman, a City Council member and one of the event’s organizers, said no one was injured during the "hometown events," as he previously referred to them as, on Monday. The Ring of Fear, trailer and saddle cow races were held in the afternoon, preceded by the 5K run and Junior Rodeo activities.
"The bulls didn’t want to play," Forman said with a laugh.
Overall, Forman said everything went smoothly.
"The big thing for me is to put these events on it takes an awful lot of help and there are a lot of people who put in a lot of time," Forman said. "I, personally, and the city really appreciate those people and their willingness to help."
Organizers will have a short break until it is time to start thinking about next year’s celebration, Forman said.
"We’ll take a little bit of time and then start working on next year before the winter starts," Forman said. "But that’s one more down for right now."
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