Celebration of freedom: Uncle Sam 5k, parade; STGnews Videocast, Photo Gallery

ST. GEORGE – Freedom rang through St. George Friday as spectators lined the streets wearing red, white and blue to celebrate Independence Day.

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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News

The Uncle Sam 5K at the Dixie Sun Bowl signaled the start of St. George’s Fourth of July celebration at 6:30 a.m. The “It’s a Grand Ol’ Flag” parade began at 8 a.m. once all the runners had crossed the finish line.

Everyone who ran in the Uncle Sam 5k received a beard and blue tuxedo shirts, St. George, Utah, July 4, 2014 | Photo by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
Everyone who ran in the Uncle Sam 5k received a beard and blue tuxedo shirts, St. George, Utah, July 4, 2014 | Photo by Samantha Tommer, St. George News

More than 300 runners signed up to run for freedom in the Uncle Sam 5K doubling the number of runners from last year.

“This race is really unique. Everyone who ran got a beard and blue tuxedo shirts,” Aaron Metler, recreation coordinator for the City of St. George, said.

Sam Picklesimer, from  New York City, ran with his wife, Andrea, and said he was excited about wearing an itchy but “awesome beard.”

Metler said he wanted this year’s race to be an enjoyable family event. Many participants ran hand-in-hand with toddlers while pushing strollers.

Greg and Melissa Anjewierden, from Salt Lake City, ran with their 3-year-old son, who today crossed the finish line of his very first 5K race. They said they anticipate buying him running shoes sooner rather than later.

“In the future, this could be hundreds of thousands of people running down the parade route in Uncle Sam costumes,” Metler said. “It ‘s a great way to kick off the city’s Fourth of July celebration.”

The “It’s a Grand Ol’ Flag” parade began on 200 West and ended at Vernon Worthen Park. The Marine Corps League, Utah Dixie Detachment #1270, led the parade carrying the United States Flag high and proud.

"It's a Grand Ol' Flag" parade in celebration of the Fourth of July, St. George, Utah, July 4, 2014 | Photo by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
“It’s a Grand Ol’ Flag” parade in celebration of the Fourth of July, St. George, Utah, July 4, 2014 | Photo by Samantha Tommer, St. George News

“We take what we are doing in the parade very seriously,” Bille Toole, public affairs officer, said.

The Marine Corps League, Utah Dixie Detachment #1270, has 70-80 members and is the largest Marine Corps League Detachment in the state of Utah. They support Toys for Tots, the veterans home in Ivins, and Devil Pups – an organization that takes youth ages 14-17 to Camp Pendleton to be educated about what it means to be an American.

“We always have fun with people of kindred spirit. We love this country first and love the Corps second,” Toole said.

The Fourth of July celebration in St. George will continue at 6 p.m. with a magic show at the Dixie Sun Bowl, and 99.9 KONY Country and the City of St. George are sponsoring a free concert for the public at 8 p.m., also in the Sun Bowl. At 10 p.m., there will be a firework show that can be seen from vantage points around the city.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

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  • Matthew Sevald July 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Happy Independence Day.
    I was very saddened by this poor example of a 4th of July parade. With the predominant exception of the Marine Corps League (Semper Fi gents), the Vietnam Vets, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, and the gentleman with the ATV and the cardboard flag/sign reminding us that freedom isn’t free, there wasn’t what I would consider another truly patriotic float or entry. The majority of the remainder were either businesses, politicians, or private clubs advertising themselves. One entry of note, however, was the Polynesian club. They were celebrating their freedom and the diversity of America like no other group – dancing and singing and having a good time. Most everyone else drove by with Princess Di waves and a comparative lack of enthusiasm and complacency that would do any WASP proud.
    Where were the historical re-enactors? The educational float displays? There was plenty of candy and coupons and candidate platform talking points handed out, but no miniature copies of the Constitution or Declaration of Independence? Why wasn’t there an entry by the UT National Guard?
    Most glaringly, however, was the complete lack of high school marching bands. In the rest of America those are a staple in community parades. The argument that “it’s summer” doesn’t wash. You can bet the farm that there will be public high school bands out for the Utah religious holiday of July 24th as there has been in the past. How shameful that the town couldn’t be bothered to get even one instrumental group going to play some Sousa and other patriotic melodies. At least one of the political candidates cobbled together a quaint little violin section to play what sounded like “Gary Owen” which was very much appreciated. As for the rest of the floats playing their modern pop-rock, give me a break. There are 364 other days in the year to exercise your freedom of bad taste.
    Very sad that we can’t put together something more fitting for Independence Day – a time when people risked their lives to earn the freedom we have today. It is indicative of what is wrong with our country when the citizenry can’t be bothered to even do their best for the single most important day of our nation. A celebration doesn’t have to be big with tons of bells and whistles, but whatever is cobbled together should at least hit the mark.

  • Don July 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I really enjoyed the Parade. I think the video above describes the day better then Matt’s comment. I saw scores of patriotic floats. But I would have to agree that the heavy music is not that pleasant.

  • Party Hearty July 6, 2014 at 8:12 am

    The best part of the parade was that the arrogant tyrannical dixie dan wasn’t in it. I was tired of seeing that boastful tub of lard in parades with his name plastered all over his float, using the parade to campaign for votes. The parade was somewhat boring. It gave the appearance of something just slapped together rather than a planned event.

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