It’s unlikely you’ll ever spot a camel, zebra, men on unicycles and a yeti all in the same place at once — unless of course you happen to be in Park City for its annual 4th of July celebration.
Over 70 floats parade down historic Main Street for this annual town-favorite tradition, and while there’s a different patriotic theme every year, the underlying message seems to always be “the crazier the better.”
But the actual parade is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to celebrating the 4th. In fact, the days leading up to, and right after, Independence Day are just as festive. And since the 4th of July is on a Friday this year, you can bet the town has big plans to extend the party well past the holiday.
In chronological order, here’s a rundown of what’s happening in and around Park City the week of July 4th.
July 2nd — 5th Oakley Rodeo & 4th of July Celebration
Dust off your chaps and get ready to tip your hats for this annual rodeo, sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). From bull riding to mutton busting, the Oakley Rodeo offers everything an authentic Wild West experience should be. Located just 15 minutes from Park City, the town of Oakley has about 1,000 residents, yet attracts a sold-out crowd of over 6,000 every night of the rodeo. This is the rodeo’s 80th year and tickets are available online at: www.OakleyCity.com.
July 3rd — Concert & Fireworks at Canyons Resort
It’s a fireworks show that will make every other display you see this year seem like nothing but a few sparklers. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s long and it’s free! Live music kicks off the evening, but be sure to head up several hours early and mark your spot. If you get there after 6pm, you’ll be hard pressed to find a free square inch of space. Pack a picnic and some wine and enjoy the concert for a few hours before the big show. The music starts at 7:30pm and the ooh and ahhs begin about 9:30pm.
July 4th — Park City Celebration
The day begins with a pancake breakfast in City Park at 7am. An hour later, you can burn off some of those carbs at the Cole Sport 5k Mountain Fun Run. Register early to save on the entry fees at www.colesport.com.
Beginning at 10am and lasting into the afternoon, catch a live rugby game in City Park, then head up to Main Street for the annual quirky parade, which starts at 11am with an Air Force fly over. After the parade, follow the floats back to City Park for a BBQ, live bands, beer garden, children’s activities, more rugby and sand volleyball games.
Head over to Deer Valley Resort by 7:30pm and catch The Texas Tenors playing in the outdoor amphitheater. First discovered on “America's Got Talent,” The Texas Tenors offer a unique twist on your favorite patriotic songs. To purchase tickets, visit www.deervalleymusicfestival.org.
At dusk, you’ll want to be near Park City Mountain Resort where a free fireworks show lights up the night sky. Put your blankets down on the city’s golf course and prepare to ooh and ahh.
July 5th — Kenny Rogers Concert
As Kenny said, “You gotta know when to hold them,” and if you’re holding tickets to this show, you’re in for a treat. Iconic country music legend Kenny Rogers will join the Utah Symphony for a special performance at Deer Valley Resort. Tickets are available online at: www.deervalleymusicfestival.org.
July 6th — The Punch Brothers
Where “new” meets “blue” in terms of grass and music, this newgrass/bluegrass/rock quintet was founded by Chris Thile, (formerly of the Grammy Award winning band, Nickel Creek). See why the New York Times says this “edgy string band is a whole new classification and generation of dazzling.”
Tickets are available online at: www.bigstarsbrightnightsconcerts.org