The city of Provo is no stranger to patriotism. Provo’s annual Grand Parade is the largest of its kind in the state of Utah. This year’s parade was one of many Freedom Festival events organized this July 4, in commemoration of America’s 238th anniversary.
The parade attracted residents from all over Utah County and brought in people from out of state. David and Heather Crawford of Mesa, Arizona, come to Provo once every four years to celebrate Independence Day.
“You have to come to Utah County for good Fourth of July fun,” Heather Crawford said.
The parade featured giant chipmunk and Smokey the Bear balloons, elaborately decorated floats and a knight in shining armor. But the simplest of presentations, a truck carrying Utah’s military veterans, received the most attention. The crowd applauded them, and some shouted praises such as “heroes!”
“My favorite float (was) the war veterans for sure,” said Eva Brady, a BYU law student.
The crowd also favored BYUtv’s and the Utah Provo Mission’s presentations. The cast of Studio C rode scooters behind a BYUtv semi-truck, and LDS missionaries marched in front of a double-decker bus that held the mission’s senior missionaries.
There was something for everyone to enjoy. Peter Petersen, of Pleasant Grove, looks forward most to seeing the bands. Petersen himself performed at Provo’s Independence Day parades in the 1960s, when he was a BYU student.
“We had a truck (we used to borrow it from UVU), and we rode down the parade and played continuously on the whole parade,” Petersen said. “We played more than anybody.”
Petersen had plenty of bands to enjoy listening to. Marching bands from Timpview, Westlake, Springville, Pleasant Grove, Timpanogos and American Fork high schools, among others, participated.
Local and state government officials also showed showed up. Provo Mayor John Curtis, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and Gov. Gary Herbert all rode or marched in the parade.