Friday, July 5, 2013

America The Beautiful in Huntsville Town, Utah

Yesterday, a short drive through Ogden Canyon (beautiful drive by the way) led us to another Jewel in the crown of what is Utah! We had done a little investigating and heard that Huntsville Town was a great place to spend the Fourth of July holiday!  I couldn't have begun to imagine what a beautiful, magical day we would have there!

Huntsville Town (with a population of a little over 700) was founded in 1860 by Jefferson Hunt.  It is one of three small communities comprising what is known as "Ogden Valle," and is the only incorporated town of the three - the other two being Eden and Liberty.

With an elevation of just under 5,000 feet and home to a beautiful, man-made lake (Pineview) it is an amazing example of what America The Beautiful means!

When we rolled into town, the Fourth of July Annual Parade had just ended and we found a great parking place near the Town Center.  We immediately felt as if we had been transported back into a different time, as the rides games and tents unfolded in front of us.  Most of the festivities occurred in a square surrounded by huge fir trees and towering mountains.  The temperature was an amazing 82 with a slight breeze which made sitting in the shade on the grass both inviting and comfortable.

There were all kinds of activities for the kids.  A lot of things were extremely inexpensive which meant that l many could afford to come and play and enjoy without breaking the budget.  Now, don't get me wrong, you could spend money if you wanted to, but you didn't have to.

There were food vendors and tent vendors and outdoor equipment vendors.  There were tents sponsored by local Boy Scout groups and other non-profit organizations, as well as locals offering everything from children selling home made "magic slime" to offering simple games for children which were only 50 cents and offered each child a small prize.  There were a couple of rides bounce games for the younger ones, and a couple of topsy turvy rides for the older children.

Earlier in the day there had been a 5K and a 10K race, and Breakfast, and a Parade (next year we will arrive earlier)!  There was even a play put on in the church recreation hall by locals for everyone to enjoy.

Just as we have found in Ogden, the people here are incredibly friendly and welcoming.  Everyone seems not only willing, but actually anxious to share their beautiful town with you.
There were all kinds of vendors purveying their wares including some great hats! As you can see, the Granma couldn't resist buying one for herself and each of the granddaughters!  Mine will keep the sun off, while the girls will sport their cowgirl hats to the Rodeo!  Liv thought it might be fun to sport all three as she danced the night away!

We met the Sheriff of Weber County, who actually drives this cool Mustang (which was donated to the City, paint job and body work and all) as his patrol car!  The Sheriff then introduced us to the Mayor and his lovely wife!  I'm telling you the truth when I say that I felt I had been transported back into the 50's or 60's ... the clean-living, wholesome atmosphere in this place is absolutely amazing.  The views are incredible.  I loved the gigantic old blue green fir trees which provided shade all round the square.

Alivia found that there was face painting, and immediately decided she wanted to be a "white tiger!"  I guess that should be "Tigress."  The face painting ladies did a marvelous job and Alivia was thrilled with her new look.

Her sister (a little older) decided that Henna would be her decoration of choice for the day and chose to have a beautiful horse painted on her ankle.

The girls were thrilled with all this day was going to offer them.  And we all felt like we had boarded a time machine and ended up in a beautiful new place and time!

The smells of cotton candy, funnel cakes and burgers and dogs mingled with BBQ and wood fired oven baked pizza and everything tasted as good as the smells promised!

I loved the fact that in spite of numerous vendors, people were allowed to bring their own grills and coolers and tables, etc. to cook on the grounds.  There were many, many picnic tables set up and room for everyone.  Even though the town only sports a population of a little over seven hundred, there were thousands of people in attendance for the Celebration.

The surrounding mountains and beautiful fir trees added considerably to the local ambiance.  The huge and beautiful lake was busy with boats and paddle boards and swimmers.  What a glorious day to celebrate this beautiful country. 

We all had our fill of hot dogs, fresh cut fries, cotton candy and more as the day progressed.  Then for dinner we got some incredible BBQ at Huntsville BBQ Company!  They have won all kinds of awards for their fantastic BBQ, and they definitely get MY vote for the Best! Oh, and don't pass up the local Root Beer Float! Oh my gosh, I totally blew my caloric intake for the day on that alone, but it was OH SO worth it!  Note to self: starve tomorrow!

It was so nice to just sit and enjoy all that was going on around us and allow the girls to play in the great weather afforded us.  Livie's cotton candy was as big as she was, and she ended up sharing it with all of us!

Melanie, Aaron and Ashlyn rented bicycles and took a ride all around the town. They met an extraordinarily friendly older gentleman who actually invited them to join he and his family in their Fourth celebration!  Like I said, people here are just unbelievably friendly! 

Originally in Huntsville Town most of the people were farmers and dairy farmers.  There are still lots of lovely barns and farms surrounding the area adding more to the peaceful beauty of the valley.

Everywhere you look there is beauty and history here.  We can hardly wait for the season changes which promise more exciting adventures.  From what I have seen, the Fall and Winter are going to be absolutely spectacular.  We are only 30 minutes from several great ski resorts and even though I have never been skiing, I am planning on trying cross country.  Kevin can't wait for snowmobiling time!  Huntsville offers dog sledding, toboggans and snomobiles as well as ski slopes.  We are all planning our adventures!

 The beautiful fir trees sheltered us from the sun during the warmest part of the day, and then as the sun began to sink behind the mountains, we moved out into the center of the Town Square in preparation to watch the fireworks.

There was a hypnotist brought in who performed for over an hour.  He had people up on stage doing all sorts of silly things.  Lots of giggles, and again all good clean family-oriented fun.

Then there was a beautiful ceremony for the Retiring of the Colors which included two horses with riders circling the center with flags flying, patriotic music playing ... it was very moving... and it was one which brought tears to my eyes.  It did make you feel proud and lucky to be an American.

Following the Retiring of the Colors, the DJ fired up all kinds of music for two hours of dancing.  They actually opened the stage and there were tons of kids up there jumping around dancing. 
As the darkness fell, everyone became more and more excited about the fireworks which would cap off this amazing day.

More people piled into the central area carrying blankets, chairs and children to settle down and watch the impending show.

Just as everything else we experienced in Huntsville Town, the fireworks were over the top!  It was approximately half an hour of fabulous explosive and colorful fireworks and music.  

When we got in our car after the show, there were local police directing traffic to allow us to move quickly out of the area.  People were really wonderful about taking turns...allowing one car in between each of the next.  I keep pinching myself to make sure all of this is real.

Pioneer Days begin here now, and there are wonderful Rodeo's and events going on from now until the end of the month.

All of us are excited about going to a real Western Rodeo!  There are all kinds of exciting events.  One I can't wait to see it called "Mutton Busting."  In this event kids from ages 5-8 actually try to wrestle a large sheep to the ground.  Hang on kids, that should be a blast to watch!

There are art walks, fashion shows and so much more this month.  We are looking forward to each and every new experience.

So I hope you will follow the Okaloosa Girl who is now blogging from Ogden as she continues on an amazing journey through life, taking on new experiences with every corner turned!



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