Blanding Independence Day celebration is on

After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the City of Blanding will host one of the best small-town Independence Day celebrations.

“The Price of Freedom” is the 2021 theme and the celebration will acknowledge the 28 local residents who were killed in action in defense of the United States (See the story featuring these men and their families on page AA2).

A parade, food, games, sports competitions, and fireworks make this event one of the most memorable of the summer. Friends and family are reunited as people attend from all over the world. 

The six-day celebration began on June 30 and concludes on July 5.

A melodrama, The Paper Bag Bandit Rides Again, begins at 7 p.m. on July 1, 2, 3, and 5 at the Blanding Arts and Events Center. 

New events include Scales and Tails, a 45-minute educational show that features lizards, snakes, turtles, and an alligator. 

The show is across the street from the Blanding branch of the San Juan County Library. It begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 1 (with similar shows at 10 a.m. in Monticello and 5 p.m. in Montezuma Creek).

On Friday, July 2 at 2 p.m., the Cleal Bradford family and JB Washburn will host a fireside event at the site of the Blanding tunnel in the Abajo Mountains.

The Mini-Madness and Shane Warenski Memorial Midnight Madness softball tournaments will take also take place on Friday, July 2.

The mini-madness tourney starts at 8:30 a.m. and will be followed by the midnight madness tournament beginning promptly at 5:30 p.m. The winner should be crowned around dawn.

Speaking of dawn, the Independence Day celebration will begin bright and early on July 3 with the annual 5K run at 6:30 a.m. and one mile fun run at 7:15 a.m.

The Firecracker 5K and fun run will start and end at Centennial Park. It’s sponsored by the San Juan Cross Country team. 

The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will include a talk by former Mayor Toni Turk. 

The program will start at 8 a.m. and breakfast will be available for purchase beginning at 7 a.m. Bring your own chairs.

The Independence Day Parade will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Gold Star families are the Grand Marshals of the parade, with the Jason Workman Memorial Ride kicking off the event.

The Color Guard will follow right behind. The parade will run from San Juan High School down Main Street to 500 South. 

Following the parade guests can savor some of the area’s best foods; enjoy games, contests, and sporting events; and buy craft items from local vendors. Most of this will take place at Centennial Park.

The rest of the day is jam-packed with events and activities for everyone including a number of sports events and tournaments. 

The San Juan High School girls basketball team hosts a 3-on-3 basketball tournament starting a 9 a.m.

A co-ed volleyball tournament and horseshoe tournament will both begin at 11:15 a.m. Diving for Dollars begins at 1:30 p.m.

Food vendors will provide options throughout the day at Centennial Park, including Dinner in the Park beginning at 5 p.m.

Two concerts will take place on Saturday night. Local favorite Stan Bronson will perform a “Down From the Mountain” concert from 4 to 6 p.m. at San Juan High.

A free concert in the park will feature Paradise City and runs from 7 p.m. until the firework show at Centennial Park.

The 2021 fireworks show will continue a Blanding tradition and is expected to be the largest free fireworks show in the state. It begins at 10 p.m.

No matter where you live, this week-long celebration is something you don’t want to miss.

For more information and the latest details on all of these events, visit or the Blanding City Facebook page. 

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday