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A puppy, a parade and pancakes: South Salt Lake celebrates Independence Day

Jul 25, 2018 02:58PM ● Published by Holly Vasic

By Holly Vasic | h.vasic@mycityjournals.com 

South Salt Lake’s traditional Freedom Festival this year included a 5K fun run, parade, and activities at Fitts Park on Independence Day and a veteran’s dinner that took place the evening before. The red, white and blue celebration was a day to remember for all.

At 7:30 a.m., 73 runners, walkers, and joggers met on the east side of Fitts Park with some ready to run the 5k, others planning to try the shorter fun run route. The crowd included mothers with strollers, 23 members of the Hernandez family, Councilmembers Corey Thomas and Ray deWolfe, among others. If runners beat the chicken (a man dressed in a chicken suit) they received a Chick-fil-A gift certificate.

Myrna Clark, from South Salt Lake’s recreation department, said 20 people beat the chicken to the finish line. “First place: Zach Thomas with a 21:52 time. Second place: Rafe Thompson with a 21:56 time,” Clark said, in reference to the winners.

Pancakes were prepared soon after the last of the runners made it past the finish line and the parade started shortly after. Many Best of South Salt Lake 2018 winners were a part of the parade such as Senior of the Year Gerda Saunders with her husband Peter, and Community Champion Adam Blackburn with USA Star Judo. Promise Kids gave candy, like many others, a tradition parade goers love. Granite School District’s American Indian Lil Feathers Title IV program participated in the parade and performed at the park afterwards in tribal dress to honor their culture. 

Kids enjoyed activities such as inflatables and a train. When the pancakes stopped being served snacks and drinks were available but unfortunately food trucks weren’t as many as the year before.

At the first council meeting after Independence Day, on July 11, Mayor Cherie Wood spoke about the Veteran’s Appreciation Dinner.

“It was very well attended, I think it’s a fantastic new tradition for our small community and really a way to honor our community’s veterans,” she said. This is the second year South Salt Lake has put on the event held at the Columbus Center. One highlight of the evening was the introduction of the 16-week-old puppy from Service Paws for Patriots, who in October, Wood said will have completed training and will be placed with a local veteran.

Wood also thanked her staff for the hard work they put in and for clocking in on a holiday. “I just wanted to let them know how much I appreciate them,” she said.

Council members echoed Woods remarks. The council also congratulated District 3 Councilmember Sharla Beverly who is legally now Sharla Byrum due to her recent marriage.

Wood jokingly mentioned the power outage that occurred during the parade effecting homes near Fitts Park, like those on Garden Avenue, due to an accident with a procession participant.

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