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Sugar House Journal

The Tradition of Sugar House Fireworks

Jul 13, 2016 10h07 ● By Natalie Mollinet

Fireworks at Sugar House Park —DAO Photography

Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

For many in Sugar House, grabbing a blanket and taking a walk over to Sugar House Park has been a lifelong tradition, and for others grabbing a drink and sitting up on their roof to watch the fireworks is their tradition. Either way, watching the fireworks at Sugar House Park has been a tradition since most people can remember. Where ever you are in the neighborhood, you can hear the sound of fireworks on July 4th and thanks to the Sugar House Chamber and those in the community the tradition continues.

“It will cost us approximately $76,000 to put on both events,” Summer Shumway chair of the Sugar House chamber said talking about the fireworks and the day time festival. “The fireworks and affiliated events at the park account for approximately 60% of that total cost.”   

Even though the fireworks can be seen as being expensive and a crowded event, thousands of people come to sit on the hills around the park and watch the lights shine in the sky. Many people do stray away from the event due to the crowds and the difficult parking, but this year the chamber is working to make sure this isn’t a problem.

“Parking and traffic will always be a struggle anywhere you hold a very large event,” Shumway said, “We recommend walking, riding your bike and using the S-Line that day. UTA has extended the hours on the 4th of July to help accommodate the festivities.”

In the past there have been scares about the show not being able to go on, and from the cost it’s easy to see why it might be difficult. It’s thanks to members of the community and the owner of Apollo Burger - Michael Ziouras - the fireworks will be sponsored by the company till 2019. The sponsorship is generous but only pays for some of the cost of the fireworks.

“We certainly need help funding such a large endeavor and it is a lot of work to make it happen,” Shumway said, “but it means such a great deal to so many – people want to support it and see it happen.”

Many brave the crowds, and walk to the park and find a spot. It’s not hard to run into old friends at the event and new friends, while children get a kick out of glow stick necklaces and the fireworks finale.

There are members in Sugar House that have fond memories of the fireworks, some remember going with their grandparents, going in big groups of friends or family, and even getting engaged at the fireworks. Even though the huge crowds can be a struggle to walk through some find ways to make it fun.

“It is fun to see friends and neighbors at the fireworks,” Cheri Christensen a long time resident said, “When they are over there are so many people, and our family changed ‘Imhotep’ from The Mummy while we walk through the crowds to our home.”

Some have used the fireworks as a place to gather with family.

“We would always walk down from my parent’s house to watch them,” Emily Lawrence said, “and after they were over we would walk home and sit outside on the front porch and watch all of the people walking up and down 21st south.”

Others have integrated the fireworks as a part of their family traditions.

“4th of July in our family starts with the neighborhood parade and breakfast,” Berkeley Noyes said, “the afternoon is spend swimming and a family softball game in the evening. As soon as it gets dark, we make our way down to Sugar House Park to grab a spot for the fireworks.”

Noyes said that her family gets really close and enough to see the debris fall from the sky. They have been doing this tradition for at least 10 years and they don’t plan to break it anytime soon.

Whatever you do on the 4th of July, the fireworks at Sugar House Park remain a tradition for many. Even with the scares in the past about the fireworks being dropped, the community and businesses within it fight to make sure that this fun tradition is continued.