Most Utahns celebrated the Fourth of July on Monday by getting out, winding up a sun-filled three-day weekend by attending parades, shopping, sightseeing, fishing, boating, sunbathing and picnicking.
Breezes in the 10- to 25-mph range and scattered thundershowers across the state gave some relief to the mid-90 degree temperatures in the north and 100-plus in the south.More than a dozen public fireworks displays are scheduled for Monday night (ee schedule on B2), culminating a weekend of pyrotechnics ranging from backyard shows to Saturday night's "Stadium of Fire" in Provo.
The Soviet Union, meanwhile, wished President Reagan and the American people "peace and well-being" in a Fourth of July message. It did not refer to the downing of an Iranian passenger jet in the Persian Gulf on Sunday by U.S. naval forces and apparently was drafted before the incident occurred.
In many of the nation's central states, where drought has made grasslands a tinderbox, high-tech laser shows, street parties, food festivals, parades and other fun replaced fireworks as Americans celebrated the country's 212th birthday.
Monday night's fireworks display at Rice Stadium, called the "Sky Concert" and billed as the biggest show in the state, will have to festoon the heavens if it is to outdo Saturday night's show in Provo.
A capacity crowd at Cougar Stadium was treated to a shower of fireworks, comedy and song, as Alan Osmond Production's "Stadium of Fire," filled the night air.
Touted by many as the "best show I have ever seen," the Stadium of Fire provided a variety of family entertainment and the state's largest fireworks display ever.
Deemed a success by many of the corporate sponsors and crew members, the panorama met with only a few mishaps, the most notable being the stage catching on fire.
"It was suppose to be the Stadium of Fire, not the stadium on fire," associate producer Marilyn Tune said.
More than 52,000 people filed into Cougar Stadium, the largest crowd to ever attend the annual July 4th panorama, to see Rich Little, Mary Hart, Emmanuel Lewis, the Osmond Brothers and the Osmond Boys perform with backup by the National Stars drill team.
Little, the famous impressionist, produced a foray of famous voices from the past, including John Wayne, Clark Gable, James Cagney and John F. Kennedy. Little also entertained the children with a rendition from Kermit the Frog and his girlfriend Miss Piggy.
Hart, co-host of "Entertainment Tonight," danced to the tunes of Kenny Loggins and got the crowd's attention with her musical version of the theme from "Footloose."
Though small in stature, Lewis proved that his voice is big and strong. With his brother, Chris, he sang "Ribbon in the Sky."
For Osmond fans it was sort of a nostalgic night at the stadium. Jay, who left the group a few years ago, joined the brothers again for this show and to help with a production for ABC-TV aired Sunday night.
Perhaps the most exciting part the evening's entertainment was the international fireworks competition.