Fireworks to Celebrate Utah on January 4th!

Wasatch County and the State of Utah will celebrate together on Monday, January 4th. The event, Thrive 125, commemorates the 125th anniversary of Utah’s statehood.

The festivities include a televised event called “Thrive125: A Utah Celebration.” The 30-minute special will play on all of Utah’s network affiliates at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the 4th. There will also be a repeat showing on PBS Utah at 8:30 p.m. that night. The show will feature performances from notable Utahns and celebrities. There will be music and dance, along with a celebration of the state’s “artistic heritage, cultural diversity, and scenic wonders,” according to the website.

Following the original broadcast, at 7:30 p.m., fireworks will fill the sky in all 29 counties of Utah. Wasatch County’s fireworks will originate from the top of Memorial Hill in Midway.

In a video message, Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter said, “We want everyone to watch them, but to just be socially distanced from wherever you are.” The Thrive 125 website states, “It is important that this celebration is COVID safe. People are encouraged to watch from a distance, in their cars, and in their front and back yards. The fireworks will be an exclamation point on a day of celebrations and in most counties will last 3-4 minutes.”

Utah became a state on January 4, 1896. State leaders applied for statehood seven times before receiving approval. The complicated process lasted 48 years. Utah finally became the 45th state to join the United States of America.

The Utah Department of Heritage & Arts created the Thrive 125 initiative, with support from Utah’s Governor and Legislature. More information about the event and Utah’s road to statehood is available on the Thrive 125 website: https://thrive125.utah.gov/january4th-event/. The site also includes a 12-minute historical video and additional resources for educators.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.