To celebrate Independence Day, Tom and I headed to Kanab, Utah for their parade and community festival. We didn’t know much about the event before we went, but it sounded like a fun way to celebrate the holiday.
The parade began at 10 a.m., which is 9 a.m. Arizona time. This meant we had to leave home at 8:15 to be sure of getting to Kanab in time for the parade. One really nice thing about Kanab is its wide streets with big berms. Finding a parking spot was easy. We were early enough that we found a place to watch the parade in the shade.
There are two unusual things about the Independence Day parade in Kanab. The first is that it is out and back. The parade runs along Center Street from east to west, then turns around and comes back along Center Street going west to east. We had never watched a parade that turned around before! It gave us two chances to see all the floats, which was fun.
The second unusual thing about the parade is that the fire trucks at the end of the parade spray water on the people watching the parade. They only do this on the return trip and they only do it on the gentlest setting of the fire hoses. The children who enthusiastically collected candy, ran out just as enthusiastically to get wet. It was a relatively cool day in Kanab (only 83 at the time of the parade) and I’m sure those who got wet enjoyed it.
Instead of groups of people marching, most people rode vehicles of various types. Families had floats and competed for trophies. Most of the businesses in town had a float. There were no marching bands – not even the high school band – and we missed that. But our viewpoint was in front of the Latter Day Saints Church, which turned out to the be the “grandstand” for the parade. So we heard the announcer say what each group was and called most of the drivers by name.
At the beginning of the parade, the announcer asked where everyone was from. Most people were residents of Kanab, but about 1/3 of the crowd were tourists and visitors.
After the Independence Day Parade, we walked to Jacob Hamblin (Mormon missionary) Park for the community festival. There were big bounce houses for the kids and a zipline, in addition to the normal park equipment. Jacob Hamblin Park has a nice skatepark, a splash fountain, ballfields, and a community swimming pool and small water park. Families spread blankets and chairs out on the lawn, staking out their spots for the fireworks.
Plenty of vendors had food and other items for sale. We got a Navajo Taco from the “Lariettes” but decided to skip the other food vendors. We looked over some jewelry booths and saw some jams and preserves. As we were walking around, we ran into Cassandra, the ranchhand at the National Monument and her friend. They encouraged us to stay for the fireworks, which are spectacular against the Vermillion Cliffs at the back of the park.
We enjoyed our Independence Day in Kanab. The parade and the festival reminded us of being back in Mogadore. Small town America at its best is, indeed, something to celebrate.