By Katherine Weinstein | [emailÂ protected]
Draper Days is back! Draper’s annual celebration of community spirit and Western pioneer legacy will mark its 20th anniversary this month with a rodeo, concert, movie night and car show. Draper Nights also returns with three whole nights of musical performances followed by fireworks.
Doug Dredge, president of Draper Days, acknowledged that this year’s events will be different from previous years. âThe difference this year is that we don’t do any daytime activities. No parade or 5k run, no pickleball or Scales and Tails tournament, âexplained Dredge. Vendor tents will also be missing from Draper Days this year.
The pandemic, which forced last year’s Draper Days to be canceled, has impacted the scope of this year’s events and complicated the planning process. âWe had to wait until the mass gathering restrictions were lifted,â said LaVar Christensen, event manager and board member of the Draper Community Foundation.
Planning for the Draper Days and Draper Nights concerts usually begins in January. At this time last winter, it was impossible to imagine what even a large-scale summer event could look like.
The organizers are emphasizing the positive after a difficult year. Every event that includes this year’s Draper Days will be “an opportunity to have an evening with the family, an opportunity to enjoy Draper and our incredible landscapes,” said Dredge.
The Draper Days Rodeo returns with all of its regular events, but will include a special presentation this year. âIt’s our 20th anniversary,â said rodeo president Katie Ovard-Smith. âWe’ll be bringing back all the former queens from the rodeo on Saturday night. We celebrate the return of the rodeo and honor the committee.
Due to delays in planning due to the pandemic, there will be no new rodeo queen or escorts this year. “We got the OK [to have the rodeo] too late, âsaid Ovard-Smith. Other than that, the main rodeo events will be very similar to those of years past.
Members of the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association will participate in bareback and horseback riding, calf lassoing, team lassoing, barrel racing and bull riding. Austin Tingley, also known as the Green Hat Clown, will show off his riding skills for pre-rodeo entertainment.
The Draper Days rodeo will take place July 9-10 at Andy Ballard Arena, 1600 East Highland Drive. Pre-rodeo entertainment begins at 7:30 pm and the rodeo begins at 8:30 pm Tickets are $ 15 for adults and $ 7 for children under 12.
On the evening of Thursday, July 15, people can enjoy a free concert at the Draper Amphitheater by the group Exit Strategy, followed by a screening of Disney’s âRaya and the Last Dragonâ.
Steve Morton, bassist and vocalist of Exit Strategy, said the band is looking forward to Draper Days. âIt should be a fun gig,â he said. âOur signature is that our music makes people want to get up and dance. The audience in the Draper Amphitheater will be encouraged to move and groove.
The three members of Exit Strategy have been playing together for 15 years. Describing themselves as “software nerds,” they met at work and have already won Fortune magazine’s “Battle of the Corporate Bands” competition. Drummer Brad Wilson is a resident of Draper while Morton and lead guitarist Tom Rhoton live in the country of Utah.
Exit Strategy’s repertoire includes covers of Bruno Mars, Blink 182, The Killers, Earth, Wind & Fire and The Weekend. When choosing which songs to play, “the criteria for us is that it makes people want to move,” Morton said. The concert is suitable for all ages.
Disney’s recent film “Raya and the Last Dragon” will be screened after the concert. The PG-rated animated film tells the story of a young warrior in a mythical land who must find the dragon who can save her people from a menacing race of monsters.
The concert and movie night will begin at 8:00 p.m. and end around 11:15 p.m. The Draper Amphitheater is located at 944 East Vestry Road in Draper.
The last event scheduled for Draper Days will be a free auto show to be held at Draper City Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 17. Organized by JC Hackett, the event will feature dozens of vintage and vintage cars. Food vendors will be present at the auto show. Draper City Park is located at 12500 S. 1300 East.
For more information on Draper Days and Draper Nights, visit www.draperutah.gov/776/Draper-Days