If you have been itching to know which fireworks display is really the biggest fireworks display in Utah - the one in the Cougar Stadium or the one in the Rice Stadium - this is the year to conduct your own truth-in-advertising survey.
You've heard the radio spots. Each year, each show claims to have the largest fireworks display in state. And each year, you've had to take their word for it because the shows have been on the same night and you couldn't hit both, to decide yourself.This year, you can.
The "Stadium of Fire" in Provo and the "Sky Concert" in Salt Lake City will be on different nights. The "Sky Concert" will be Monday. But the Provo show will be on Saturday because the Fourth falls on a Monday and the show's sponsor - Alan Osmond - doesn't want his fireworks to conflict with LDS Family Home Evening, said Ron Clark, spokesman for the extravaganza.
The show is always moved to another night when July Fourth falls on Sunday or Monday, he said.
That means you can take your binoculars and note pad to both shows, count the fireworks, gauge the intensity and range of their color, measure how fully each fills the sky and decide for yourself which of the two shows is really the largest fireworks display in Utah.
However, if driving between Salt Lake City and Provo to judge fireworks and then fighting killer traffic after isn't your idea of a holiday weekend, there are other options. About 100 of them. (ee list on B2.)
The Deseret News, Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation Department and the Sugar House Park Authority will host a fireworks show on the southwest corner of Sugarhouse Park, at 13th East and about 2300 South.
People can pack a meal, go to the park in the late afternoon or early evening, then beginning at 8:15 p.m. watch sky divers, enjoy bluegrass music and watch thundering mortar shells and fiery rockets.
Or take Park City, for example. If you drive up there on Sunday and spend the night, you can be awakened at 6 a.m. Monday by the sound of exploding dynamite. The "dynamite reveille" is Park City's way of reminding folks of their roots. After all, this hamlet of ski resorts, gift shops and film festivals began as a mining town.
The explosions will be set off by the Park City Ski Area Ski Patrol in the Park City Ski Area. But don't worry about rushing to the site. You will be able to hear them wherever you are.
Even if you stay in the Salt Lake area, there's something to get up for on Monday morning. Most towns are sponsoring chuck wagon breakfasts. Several offer early morning flag-raising ceremonies as well, and each is filling its parks with a day's worth of fun.
There are five-kilometer races, 10-kilometer races, art festivals, local bands, picnics, food booths, baseball games and variety shows.
Each town is calling its celebration the old-fashioned kind. There will be cotton candy, hot dogs, lemonade, checkered tablecloths, naps in the shade and brass bands.
Several towns are holding parades in the morning. (ee list on B2.) Many fire departments plan to take the edge off the afternoon heat with water fights.
Then there are the final three days of America's Freedom Festival in Provo. They begin Saturday morning with 30 hot-air balloons rising over Provo skies.
The "Stadium of Fire" will blaze over Cougar Stadium as Rich Little, Mary Hart and Emmanuel Lewis kick off an entertainment extravaganza.
Through the weekend, downtown merchants will hold a sale, while the Freedom Festival Carnival carries on in the Provo High School parking lot.
Monday, there will be an all-day Picnic in the Park at Provo's Kiwanis park.
If you are spending the Fourth in Salt Lake County, wait until the sun dips behind the Oquirrhs and you will see the skies sparkle and explode from 12 locations.