Celebrate Fourth of July in St. George
Published: Monday, July 4, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2011 10:07
The Fourth of July is a holiday that many students at Dixie State love.
Dixie State student Krissia Beatty, a freshman, said she was really looking forward to the Fourth of July.
"It's my favorite holiday," Beatty said. "Its a day where the community comes together to remember things."
Beatty will ride in a float at the St. George parade, run activities at Vernon Worthen Park, and then go to a family reunion. Beatty said the best part about the Fourth is one thing: "Party with the family."
Katherine Smith, a freshman at Dixie State, said her ideal Fourth of July is going to a parade with family and friends.
"[It's] summer fun!" Smith said. "[We're] celebrating our independence by being together with family; [it's] just a good time."
Not every student will have an ideal holiday. Dixie State junior Jenn Christensen said she is working all day and wished that she could hang out with friends, have a barbecue and watch fireworks.
"It's about hanging out with friends, family and food...that's what it means to me," Christensen said.
There's plenty to do this Fourth of July in St. George thanks to the efforts of Aaron Metler, the recreation coordinator for St. George. Metler organized the Independence Day celebration in and around Vernon Worthen Park.
"Every year we try to add something new and unique because we want to really make it into a giant spectacular citywide celebration," Metler said.
He said that while St. George's celebration is smaller than big cities like Salt Lake, it's just as good.
The events of the day start with breakfast in Vernon Worthen Park from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. It is $6 for adults and $4 for children under 12. Breakfast includes pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns and a beverage.
The City of St. George Fourth of July Celebration Parade begins at 8 a.m. and circles around Vernon Worthen Park. It is only the second parade the city has done for the Fourth of July.
"Last year we just realized, you've got to have a parade on the Fourth of July," Metler said.
He said about 40 to 50 floats are expected to enter. Metler said there will be dance teams, marching bands, mascots and more.
"Last year Tuacahn had a really amazing Tarzan float," Metler said.
He said he hopes they can top it this year.
Kelly Thayer performs the national anthem at 9 a.m., which will kick off the free games and activities in the park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. People can participate in games which include watermelon seed spitting contests, a Frisbee toss, football throw and a homerun derby. Some activities to join in on is jumping into a bouncey house, dunking someone in a dunk tank, running an obstacle course and climbing a climbing wall. To keep cool, there are sponges to throw and water to spray in Water Wars and slide on a 100-foot slip-n-slide.
At 11:30 a.m. organized games begin against Uncle Sam. Games include tug-of-war and potato sack races.
At 10 a.m. there is free Zumba followed by karaoke.
"Last year about 60 people joined in [with Zumba]," Metler said.
He said that while the mayor didn't like his singing last year, karaoke is "all about the fun."
The real highlight, Metler said, is at 11 a.m., when St. George's Finest Talent begins. Metler said the top performers of St. George will be there from country singers to dance groups.
The mayor is a celebrity judge and the winner of the contest will be the opening act for the concert that night.
At 1 p.m. another recent addition to celebration begins: a hot dog eating contest. Metler said the participants are chosen that day by their creative entries, by wearing a quality costume, or if they "just have an extraordinary eating ability." Last year's 12-minute contest was a photo-finish, Metler said. The winning amount: 12 1/2 hotdogs. Metler said that the first and second place finishers would be back.