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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Radio commentator Glenn Beck waves to the crowd during the Freedom Festival parade July 4. The parade is one aspect of the weekend's celebration.

PROVO — From Salt Lake City to Louisiana, Miley Cyrus' upcoming performance at Stadium of Fire will draw tens of thousands of people, adding to the annual influx that America's Freedom Festival at Provo brings to Utah County.

People venturing to Utah County for the celebration help support the tourism industry and benefit the county monetarily. And whether Miley is here or not, numerous people make their way to Provo.

"A lot of people float into the county; they love this huge Fourth of July celebration," said Joel Racker, president and chief executive officer for the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The UVCVB recently had a ticket give-away for people who signed up for the organization's newsletter. More than 600 people signed up, 64 percent of whom were outside of Utah County and 40 percent outside of Utah, Racker said.

Several years ago the UVCVB commissioned Brigham Young University's ad lab to research during Provo's parade the number of attendees who lived outside Utah County, he said. Of the roughly 250,000 people who attended the parade, about 15 percent to 20 percent lived outside the county. A large number of "outsiders" also attend other festival events.

"I don't know that it's a majority, but there's a good portion of (people) from out of the area and they love the way we celebrate the Fourth of July in Utah Valley," Racker said.

Colonial Days, part of America's Freedom Festival at Provo, hopes to have about 100,000 visitors this year, said Linda Walton, public relations coordinator for the event. Organizers advertised in every state, hoping that people interested in the colonial era will attend.

Walton said she's already heard of a bus-tour group that will attend as part of a tour that will also hit several other states' historical events.

When people come into the county and spend money in restaurants or at hotels, it helps revenues in the county and lowers the tax burden on county residents, said Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson.

Hotel and restaurant taxes help promote the county and construct different projects, such as parks or trails. Sales-tax revenues swell state, county and city coffers.

"Anytime you have people visiting, they do count for additional monies," when they spend money on food or shopping," he said. "It all adds to the pie."

People who travel to the county and enjoy themselves also become good advertisers for the county when they go home and tell their neighbors and friends about their experiences, he said.


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