It’s once again that time of year as Blanding gears up for it’s annual Fourth of July celebration. Thousands are expected to converge for a day of patriotic celebration that will stretch a few days, in both directions, from the main celebration on the Fourth of July.
A full schedule of official events, in addition to other events throughout the celebration, can be found in this issue of the San Juan Record.
The Independence Day parade, under the theme of What’s Right With America, makes its way down Main Street beginning at 10:30 a.m. on July 4. The grand marshal for the parade is Clayton Long.
Other highlights of the parade include a host of floats and other entries, including the fourth annual Jason Workman Memorial Ride. Dozens of motorcycles crowd the parade route in honor of Workman, a Blanding native who was a member of Seal Team Six. He was killed in action in Afghanistan in August, 2011.
On July 5, the bridge crossing the San Juan River at Mexican Hat will officially be renamed the Jason Workman Memorial Bridge. A ride will leave Blanding at 9 a.m. on Tuesday to attend the event. It is the first bridge in Utah to be named to honor a fallen soldier.
The July 4 parade, which will have at least 60 entries, is just one of the highlights of the annual Independence Day celebration.
The celebration kicks off Friday, July 1 with the annual Shane Warenski Memorial Midnight Madness softball tournament. The softball tournament starts at 5:30 p.m. and continues play through the entire night. The San Juan High School football team will hold a fundraising dinner at the event.
A full series of events are planned for Saturday, July 2, highlighted by a concert from legendary singer Stan Bronson. Bronson’s wildly-popular album, Down From the Mountain, was released 50 years ago. The concert, which begins at 7 p.m. at the San Juan High School auditorium, will feature music from the album and Bronson’s other releases.
Sporting events on Saturday include a paint ball tournament, 7-on-7 football tournament and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
The Blanding Rotary Club will sponsor a Car Show, Navajo Taco Dinner and Chili Cook-Off at the Blanding Central Park, adjacent to the South LDS Chapel on Main Street. The car show begins at 2 p.m., the chili cook-off at 3 p.m. and the dinner at 4 p.m.
Things begin early on Monday, July 4 (6:30 a.m.) with a 5K race beginning at Centennial Park.
The annual Mayors Breakfast begins soon afterward and will feature a speech by San Juan County Commissioner Rebecca Benally. The breakfast also includes food, music and words from Mayor Calvin Balch and Lou Mueller.
The fun continues with co-ed volleyball, horseshoes, kids games, swimming races, horse games and more with events stretching throughout the afternoon.
Food booths and other vendors will offer their services as well throughout the day, primarily from Centennial Park and in the Blanding Wellness Center.
Arts and crafts are available at the Blanding Wellness Center, including the annual quilt show.
The evening will include a free concert by “Shaun Canon and the Pops Orchestra from 7 until 10 p.m.
The fireworks show at 10 p.m. is always a highlight and a great finale of the Fourth of July Celebration. The fireworks show is computer choreographed and is sponsored by Dr. Joe Wilson.