Cedar City’s Fourth of July parade to feature new entries, including float honoring Nathan Hale

CEDAR CITY — Organizers are gearing up for Cedar City’s annual Fourth of July parade, scheduled to take place downtown on Monday morning.

Independence Day parade, Cedar City, Utah, July 5, 2021 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The event, officially known as the Cedar City Lions Club “Spirit of ‘76 Independence Day Parade,” is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of 300 West and Center Street and end at 400 North Main.

For the fourth straight year, the parade will begin with a popular series of entries depicting iconic scenes from the American Revolution and other important historical moments.

Spirit of ‘76 parade chairperson and Lions Club member Beth Stephenson said the patriotic series has a new float this year, one that depicts patriot spy Nathan Hale just before his execution by the British in September 1776.

The 28-foot float, which is being sponsored by Cedar City Councilman R. Scott Phillips, will feature 10 actors, including Jameson Fife playing the part of Hale and other actors portraying British soldiers, a judge and a few spectators.

Float builder Randy Seely talks about “Spirit of ’76” float depicting Arlington National Cemetery, Cedar City, Utah, July 1, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

As the float passes by, audience members will hear a recording playing a recitation of Hale’s famous last words: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” 

“It’s a little darker part, but, you know, this country was built on a lot of sacrifice,” Seely added, noting that the float’s message ties in directly with this year’s overall parade theme, “Freedom Isn’t Free.”

Other historical vignettes depicted in the dozen or so “Spirit of ‘76” entries include the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s ride, Patrick Henry’s fiery oration, George Washington crossing the Delaware River, Betsy Ross’s flag, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the Constitution.

A total of nearly 80 volunteer actors appear in the Spirit of ‘76 entries, Stephenson noted. 

To see an online program with descriptions of each of the featured historical events, click here.

The rest of the parade also promises to be fun and entertaining, said Heather Carter, a fellow Lions Club member who’s in charge of overseeing the overall event.

Carter said the scheduled list of approximately 60 entries includes school buses, a fuel tanker, tractors, horses, vintage automobiles, and several new entries.

In keeping with the tradition of past years, the parade is scheduled to kick off with a flyby of SUU Aviation helicopters and a flag presentation by a color guard. It will end with a series of fire engines, with their sirens and horns blaring.

The morning of the parade, attendees are invited to line the streets and sidewalks of Center Street between 300 West and Main and Main Street between Center Street and 400 North. For safety reasons, parade watchers are reminded to stay behind the painted white lines at the edges of the road.

To see Cedar City News’ coverage of last year’s event, click here.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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