Twenty-one people will be honored this year as Orem Summerfest’s grand marshals. Typically one or two people are chosen as grand marshals for city celebrations and parades, but Orem is celebrating big this year because it is the city’s 100th birthday.
“It is an honor and privilege to welcome Orem’s previous mayors as this year’s Grand Marshals,” current mayor Richard Brunst wrote for an Orem Summerfest flyer. “It is fitting that they should be given thanks and honored in this our centennial year celebration. These men and women have given many years of countless service to our community. It is in no small part due to the efforts of public servants such as these that our city has progressed well and now ranks high among the cities of our nation.”
Brunst said that it was decided by the Summerfest Committee to honor the city’s past mayors, as this is the 100th anniversary of Orem. “All of our past mayors dedicated a lot of their time and effort to ensure the progress, growth, success of our beautiful city,” he said.
Orem’s first mayor was J. Lawrence Snow, who served from 1919-1925. The city’s second mayor, J.W. Gillman, served the most years, as he was mayor from 1925-1931 and again from 1946-1953. Another former mayor, James Mangum, served terms separated by years of not serving, as Gillman did. Mangum was Orem’s mayor from 1966-1967 and 1974-1981.
The city’s first female mayor was Joyce Johnson, who served in 1991. She was followed by the city’s only other female mayor, Stella Welsh, who served from 1992-1997. Brunst has been Orem’s mayor since 2014.
The five living grand marshals and living spouses of those who have passed away will ride in the Summerfest Parade on June 15, will be invited to the other Summerfest festivities and will be attending and honored at the Mayor’s Centennial Ball on June 1.
While there have been city celebrations for many years, the city’s yearly celebration officially became known as “Summerfest” in June 1977, according to Steven Downs, deputy city manager.
This year’s Summerfest will be held June 10-15. Some of the most popular activities during the annual celebration are the baby contest, pool party, kickoff party and the fireworks. For a full list of events and for opportunities to volunteer, check out the Summerfest’s website at summerfest.orem.org.