Statehood Day: TV special, fireworks planned across Utah on Monday for 125th anniversary

Statehood Day: TV special, fireworks planned across Utah on Monday for 125th anniversary

(Carter Williams,, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — At 10:03 a.m. Eastern time on Jan. 4, 1896, President Grover Cleveland signed a proclamation that declared Utah to be the country's 45th state.

A superintendent of Western Union in Salt Lake City rushed from his office and fired a pair of shots in the air to inform the community that the proclamation was signed, historian Audrey Godfrey wrote in a 1995 article about "Statehood Day" for "Utah Historical Quarterly."

"At this prearranged signal, merrymaking commenced," Godfrey wrote. "Bill Bingley and his shotgun brigade gathered near Browning Brothers store in Salt Lake, and boys blew whistles and set off 'bombs' felt blocks away. At 11:30, the NGU (National Guard of Utah) gathered on Capitol Hill at noon to fire a 21-gun salute."

Celebrations were reported all over the state as the news spread, even though some festivities reportedly led to confusion, property damage and injuries.

"Guns, whistles, and bells of every variety challenged anvils, dynamite, yelling, singing, drums, and bands for two hours and then intermittently throughout the day," Godfrey added. "A. H. Woodruff called the racket 'Bedlam,' while a reporter labeled it 'hilarious pandemonium.'"

While perhaps not as rowdy and a little more organized, another grand display is planned 125 years later — albeit with adjustments to account for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Utah is set to celebrate "Thrive 125" on Monday to commemorate the 125th anniversary of statehood. The event will include a television special to be aired at the same time on all four of Utah's major stations and fireworks launched all over the state simultaneously.

The festivities will begin with business first because it just so happens that inauguration day lined up with the anniversary of Statehood Day. Spencer Cox will be sworn in as Utah's 18th governor and Deidre Henderson will be sworn as the state's ninth lieutenant governor during a ceremony in Ivins at 11 a.m.

There is a slate of events set up for Monday evening, according to the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts. First, a TV special celebrating Utah history will air at 6:30 p.m. on KSL, KTVX, KSTU and KUTV. It will be rebroadcast on PBS Utah at 8:30 p.m.

There will also be a fireworks display simultaneously launched in 30 locations across all 29 of Utah's counties at 7:30 p.m. Salt Lake County will be the lone county with two locations, with one at the Utah Capitol and another location in Taylorsville. Cox and Henderson will be on hand to watch the fireworks from the Capitol.

All 30 displays will last a few minutes in most counties. Due to COVID-19 concerns, event organizers recommend that people watch from safe distances, like in their cars or at home. The 30 locations are:

  • Ashley Valley Community Park: 500 N. 900 West in Vernal
  • Castle Dale Cemetery and Park: 650 N. Center in Castle Dale
  • Centennial Park: N. Main Street in Richfield
  • Dixie Technical College: 610 S. Tech Ridge Drive in St. George
  • Duchesne Fairgrounds: 300 E. 400 South in Duchesne
  • Downtown Fillmore: 90 N. Main in Fillmore
  • Iron County Fairgrounds: 100 N. 300 East in Parowan
  • Jacob Hamblin Park: 485 N. 100 East in Kanab
  • Juab County Fairgrounds: 410 W. Center in Nephi
  • Junction: A pasture with a pond on Highway 89 just outside of Junction
  • Legacy Events Center BMX Course: 151 S. 1100 West in Farmington
  • Loa Roping Arena: 300 N. 300 West in Loa
  • Lucerne Valley Marina: Lucerne Port Harbor in Manila
  • Manti Fairgrounds: 500 N. Main in Manti
  • Memorial Hill: 373 River Road in Midway
  • Morgan High School: 700 E. Young St. in Morgan
  • Monticello High School: 148 S. 200 West in Monticello
  • Ogden: Vacant lot located near 2525 Grant Ave.
  • Provo Towne Centre: 1200 Towne Centre Blvd. in Provo
  • Randolph City Park: 20 S. Main in Randolph
  • Rees Pioneer Park: 800 W. Forest St. in Brigham City
  • Sand Hill: Sand Hill Road in Moab (near Arches National Park Entrance)
  • Tooele High School: 300 W. Vine St. in Tooele
  • Triple C Outdoor Arena: 50 E. 800 North in Panguitch
  • Tushar Mountain Ball Park: 826 E. 600 North in Beaver
  • Utah State Capitol: 350 N. State in Salt Lake City
  • Utah Olympic Park: 3419 Olympic Parkway in Park City
  • Valley Regional Park: 5100 S. 2700 West in Taylorsville
  • Willow Park: 500 W. 700 South in Logan
  • Wood Hill: 50 W. 550 North in Price

More information about the festivities can be found here.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for


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