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Sugar Days to Get New Vibe

Apr 08, 2016 09:45AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Natalie Mollinet | natalie@mycityjournals.com

Sugar House - This year the Sugar House Chamber and members of the community are rallying together to bring back the excitement of Sugar Days. 

Sugar Days actually used to be called Founders Day back in the 1930s. It wasn’t until the early 1940s that the name was changed to Sugar Days in celebration of the day that Sugar House got its name. Back in 1852, Margaret Smoot, who was the wife of Mayor Abraham Smoot, came up with the name Sugar House because of the sugar mill that was in Sugar House at the time. 

In 1947, the business league became the chamber of commerce and created an annual celebration called Open House in Sugar House, where merchants in the district could host thousands of visitors. 

“The 1950 festivities were lavish, with all the stores closing at 6 p.m., only to re-open an hour later to entertain spectators with displays of new products and fashion shows in their front windows, and demonstrations of future trends in home furnishings and appliances,” Lynne Olson, a member of the Sugar House Chamber, said regarding the history of the event.

Sugar Days begins on April 23 every year and usually runs for two to three days. But over the years the event has lost its flair.

“There would be a carnival next to Sugar House Monument,” Olson said. “There was a ferris wheel and rides, and restaurants around there would close down to help with the celebration.” 

The restaurants would close in order to get help from their employees to clean the streets, put flowers in baskets and help make the heart of Sugar House look nice. 

In an article written in the Deseret News in 1952, the events started with a community breakfast early in the morning, and people could get a look at a scale model of what Sugar House would look like in 1977. And even as far back as 1941, the community carnival would be open all evening for people to attend. According to Olson, during Sugar Days the community would hand out bags of sugar to people who went into grocery stores to buy something. There would even be guessing games for people to guess how many bags of sugar were in a pile. Winners would win trips to Hawaii or other fun places. 

This year though, the Sugar House Chamber hopes to revamp the celebration and bring back the once fun tradition and make it a real community effort. This year will mark the 158th anniversary of the founding of Sugar House, and the chamber believes they have the resources and traditions to make a great Sugar Days this year. 


One event planned will be called Sample Sugar House, which is when a variety local restaurants will open their doors welcoming people to come try their food. Tony Cabbela is heading up then event and is getting restaurants involved. 

“It was a success up in Park City, so we thought it would be good to bring it to Sugar House,” Cabbela said. “We’re doing it specifically [in conjunction] with Sugar Days to help bring it back. Guests don’t need to have a code or coupon. They can just go in and enjoy the food.” 

“Sugar Days hasn’t been celebrated for several years and I miss it,” Olson said. “With all the changes happening in the town center, and the efforts the local merchants are making to rebrand Sugar House as a great place to live and work, the opportunity for a festival that is unique to our community is too good to miss.”  

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