The Heber Valley is not only lighting up the night with fireworks this Fourth of July but also extending the festivities to an all-day-long celebration. Fifteen individuals representing different community organizations have come together to create a grassroots Independence Day celebration. 2023 marks the first year of the Red, White, and Blue Festival, which is destined to become a memorable family tradition. Jessica Broadhead, the marketing manager for Heber Valley Tourism, says this special event is “by the community, for the community.” With a day full of scheduled events, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
The day begins bright and early with a chance to watch majestic hot air balloons soaring above the valley at 6:00 am. With the sound of the starting gun at 7:00 am, runners will compete in their choice of a 5k or 10k starting at Heber City Park. If running isn’t your thing, you can join in the patriotic walk following the flag ceremony. The patriotic walk is a one-mile walking parade. This is an opportunity to dress up in patriotic gear and walk alongside local veterans and other members of the community. Jessica says, “We just hope to get families out, kids especially, just anyone in the community to come out and show their patriotism. Wear their gear. Bring their flag. Dress up their bikes or their scooters or whatever the case and participate […].”
Heber Valley Tourism decided to join, along with many local organizations, to make this celebration a reality. Jessica says they were able to do this by saying, “If your event falls within these four categories: freedom, family, independence, and country, then we will endorse your event as part of our event, even if it’s not happening at the Heber City Park.” With this call for participation, the day is chock-full of fun and entertainment. Several community organizations are joining in on the excitement.
Members of the community can come together to enjoy breakfast put on by the Rotary Club, the art exhibit from the Plein Air Festival in Midway, and the freedom train with HV Railroad. After a full morning, families can enjoy a free lunch sponsored by Heber City with true American fare: hot dogs, chips, and watermelon. There will be local vendors selling food, crafts, and other goods. Fun traditional yard games will be available at the park, including a bean-bag toss tournament, a sidewalk chalk art contest, a strong man contest, and gunny sack and three-legged races. You will not want to miss the Guns vs. Hoses tug-of-war, where the Heber City Police Department will battle it out against the Wasatch County Fire District. If stuffing your face is clearly one of your talents, the schedule has you covered with a post-lunch, pre-dinner eating contest.
When the sun starts to set, there’s still plenty more fun to be had. Stomp it Out Cloggers will perform. Music artist Corbin Gordon will then open for a concert in the park. After swaying to the music, watch the night sky light up with fireworks off of Memorial Hill. This is a chance to come together with neighbors and friends, new and old. A chance to gather and create a stronger sense of community. A chance to celebrate our freedoms and the people we get to enjoy them with. A chance to salute the Red, White, and Blue.