r SANTAQUIN – A flag raising and balloon release are planned to kick off the 2017 Orchard Days in this town eight miles south of Payson on Interstate 15.
Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 29, at Centennial Park, 300 West 100 South, west of the Main Street exit, through Aug. 5, Santaquin’s annual Orchard Days celebration includes something for every age.
“We have many wonderful events scheduled, with all ages and interests in mind,” Mayor Kirk Hunsaker said in his welcome letter that appears on the Orchard Days 2017 Event Guide, available on the city’s website: santaquin.org. The Mayor commended event chairperson Amy Johnson, rodeo chairperson Paige Steele and “all the many volunteers from throughout our community who have planned this great Orchard Days event.”
The celebration, which dates to the 1960s and ‘70s and until the early 1990s was known as “Cherry Days,” marks a significant change in the town’s – and Utah County’s economy.
That’s when orchardists who lived in Orem sold their property to housing developments and moved to “greener pastures” in Santaquin. The rocky soil in the area had struggled to grow grains, but fruit trees and the economy flourished.
Today, Santaquin exists in three parts: the older part of town west of the Interstate at the Main Street exit; the new commercial/residential area east of the Main Street exit; and the residential areas at Santaquin’s second exit, Summit Ridge Parkway.
“Orchard Days is about the only time of year all parts of town get together,” Andrew Goudy told Serve Daily. Goudy is the great-grandson of one of the town’s original settlers.
“It’s a simple little activity,” Goudy understated with a twinkle in his eyes that spoke of his Swedish heritage. “Just a good chance for people to get together. We’ve always had some kind of celebration, since the 1990s anyway.”
The Mayor and City Council will host the annual flag-raising ceremony at 8 a.m. July 29, with Boy Scouts raising the flag. The annual Buck-A-Roo Rodeo is to follow, at 4 p.m. at the Santaquin Rodeo Arena, 175 South 400 West.
Competition categories for the Buck-A-Roo rodeo are sheep riding, barrels, poles, goat tying, break-away roping, mini-bull riding, and team roping. Free events: Money steer for ages 10 and older, and a Candy Run for those 9 and younger.
Also on Saturday, A piano festival is set for 5-7 p.m. at the LDS chapel, 345 West 100 North.
Santaquin, a town of about 10,000 people – up more than 109 percent since 2000 – has 22 LDS congregations plus Santaquin Baptist Church and Christian Life Assembly of God church. Catholics, Goudy said, attend mass in Payson or Elberta. In keeping with local religious tradition, no Orchard Days activities are planned for Sunday.
Ongoing and no-cost activities Monday through Friday, July 31 and Aug. 1-5, include a photographic display of Santaquin’s babies and youngsters at the city library; a quilt show at the senior citizen’s center; and tours of the Chieftain Museum.
Also on Monday, July 31, a children’s parade at 6 p.m., carnival games, 4-H petting zoo and horse/pony rides,sidewalk chalk art, bounce houses, food and craft vendors and, at dusk, the movie Moana, all behind the City Rec Offices. Tours of the Daughters of Utah Pioneer’s cabin next to the library also will be available Monday from 6-9 p.m.
A youth/women’s Home Run Derby is set for 8 p.m. Tuesday at Callaway Field. A men’s Home Run Derby is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Callaway Field.
Shawn Dee, the Hypno Hick, is to perform at 7 p.m. Thursday at Santaquin Elementary School. There’s a $5 charge to hear his hilarious, clean hypnosis comedy.
Rodeo-related activities start at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Santaquin Rodeo Arena with a live band: Santaquin’s own Fire Hawks. The Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association (RMPRA) Rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with fireworks closing out each night. The cost for the rodeo: $10/adults and $8/youngsters 3-12.
“Back by popular demand is the famous hide race and donkey steer roping,” according to the Orchard Days 2017 Event Guide. “Funnyman Van Kelley is back again for some good laughs and entertainment … [and] Saturday night is ‘Tough Enough to Wear Pink’ night.”
The best seats for viewing the fireworks is from inside the arena, according to the Event Guide.
The Mountain Land Physical Therapy 5k/10k run is to start at 7 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at 94 W. Main. At 10 a.m. is to be the Grand Parade down Main Street, with Bart and Yvonne Olson as Grand Marshals. Also on Saturday, Rowley’s Red Barn will host its annual Cherry Pit Spit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A Car Show hosted by Santaquin Baptist Church is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Park, where there also are to be craft boutiques, food and inflatables, starting at 10 a.m.
A Horseshoe Tournament is set for noon Saturday, Aug. 5, at Callaway Field.
To participate in the Home Run Derbies, 5k/10k runs, and the horseshoe tournament, please register online at santaquin.org.