Editor's note: The original version of this article did not give the location of the local fireworks show. Monday's fireworks will be shot off at 7:30 p.m. at Willow Park in the same location as the Pioneer Day fireworks are typically launched, though — in compliance with COVID-19 mitigation efforts — those who attend the event are asked to stay in their vehicles or otherwise maintain physical distancing from those outside of the household. The designated parking lots to view the show are located at the Logan Aquatic Center, Cache County Fairgrounds (Event Center and Cache Arena), Logan River Golf Course, Willow Park and Willow Park Sports Complex.
For the first time in known state history, each of Utah’s 29 counties will hold a simultaneous firework show to celebrate the 125th anniversary of statehood on Monday.
“In a rather bleak year, the state is trying to do something festive to celebrate,” said Logan Mayor Holly Daines. “The 125th anniversary is a pretty big milestone. Utah, like everywhere, has had a tough year, but our state has banded together and done pretty well — as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”
County Executive Craig Buttars agreed — especially as the July 24 fireworks at the Cache County Fairgrounds were cancelled due to the pandemic — and wondered if the valley-wide firework shows to celebrate Independence Day had inspired the statewide event.
“The only other things I’ve heard of that come close to this is like when the Salt Lake valley did something for the Olympics,” he said. “But up here in the county, we had three communities that did the firework shows on the 3rd.”
Executive Director of the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts Jill Love — one of the organizers of the event — said the multitude of county and community shows to bring unity and celebrate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were definitely an inspiration.
The event is organized by the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts’s Thrive125 initiative to celebrate the milestone. Love said planning began as early as August and originally had more of a scholarly focus, but after the election, Governor-elect Spencer Cox asked organizers to “go bigger.”
“Even before the governor-elect asked us to go bigger, we wanted to do something notable that would involve the whole state, every county,” Love said. “The governor-elect really felt strongly that Utahns needed something to celebrate, and that the arts and cultural sector is really at the heart of our economy, and when it’s doing well, other sectors are doing well.”
In addition to bringing communities together, the event is part of an ongoing effort to get artists and performers — a sector of the economy that’s been devastated by the pandemic — back to work throughout 2021.
All four of Utah’s local TV stations will broadcast a program from 6:30-7 p.m. with musical and dance performances, including some “celebrity guests” and footage of Utah’s cultural and scenic diversity, according to a press release sent by Logan’s Park and Recreation department on Monday.
“I think art heals us, and we’re at a time in our country and in the world where it’s really important to come together and feel each other’s humanity,” Love said. “Art is a way to do that. And we have a lot to celebrate in Utah.”
The short firework shows are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., and though they will only last a few minutes, the goal is to start the new year off with a sense of healing, unity and pride in Utah’s history.
“I think the Cox administration has been pretty creative in how they move forward and involve citizens throughout the state,” Buttars said. “They try to be as inclusive as they can and adapt to current situations with commitment to reaching out to all parts of the state.”
Love said other events to look forward to include virtual events in January and February that explore the history of indigenous communities in Utah, as well as Spanish explorers and the early days of statehood.
Later into spring and summer as in-person gatherings can move outside again, traveling performances to go to venues throughout the state and museum events and special exhibits are also being planned.
“The arts have always been at the forefront of who we are as a state,” Love added. “We were the first Arts Council in the country to be formed in the late 1800s. So art has just always been a way that we celebrate. And so being able to do that now at this time is really exciting for us.”