From the grand ol' daddy of community celebrations, the Days of '47, to rural rendezvous' like Fountain Green's Lamb Days, community gatherings can be found on practically any given weekend someplace in Utah.

Except, it seems, in the south end of Davis County.Given, there are town parties for the big holidays like the Fourth of July or Christmas.

And yes, Bountiful has both Summerfest and Handcart Days.

But the rest of the neighboring towns, including Centerville, Woods Cross, North Salt Lake and West Bountiful, have traditionally avoided such celebrations.

Things have picked up this summer, with Centerville having multiple community celebrations for its sesquicentennial year and Woods Cross having a second-annual Memorial Day celebration, which includes a pancake breakfast, games at the park and music.

That Memorial Day gathering will continue next year, said Woods Cross Mayor Jerry Larrabee.

"It's been very successful in bringing the community together, as well as raising money for the elementary school," Larrabee said.

All good and well, but what about those annual celebrations, like Tomato Days in Hooper or Swiss Days in Midway? Why must residents of south Davis venture to neighboring cities to while away a summer weekend?

Because they like it that way, and have always liked it that way, said Evelyn Partner, public information technician for the Utah Historical Society.

"Most of these cities are bedroom communities, and they started out without a distinctive identity," Partner said. "Traditionally, they participated in the Salt Lake City or other cities' celebrations."

As for other suburbs with specific celebrations, such as Draper or Sandy, those events began when Salt Lake City was considered a long way away. And the farther from the Wasatch Front a person goes, the more prevalent those celebrations become.

In many rural Utah towns, the town signs will actually advertise their community events as their biggest claim to fame, and the annual gatherings can bring even the most surly of citizens to the parades, fireworks and barbecue.

"Usually, it was some sort of a harvest celebration or at least a good excuse to party," Partner said.

In the urbanized areas, these celebrations continue to thrive, partly because city leaders often see it as a great builder of community spirit, Partner said. In fact, some new cities will start up an event to foster civic pride and establish an identity, such as West Valley City has done with its annual West Fest.

Along with civic pride, an added bonus of these events is relief from the dog days of summer, especially for kids. Longtime North Salt Lake resident Freda Wood remembers Bountiful's Cantaloupe Days (replaced by Handcart Days), and the Halloween celebration in North Salt Lake as a way to keep the kids out of harm's way and trouble.

"We did it to keep the kids off the street," she said. "It was mainly for the communities, and the kids really looked forward to it."