Editor’s Note: Another in the Festival Flashback series, exploring the history and origins of city celebrations throughout Utah County, even as the coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected what cities are able to do this year. Today, we look at Lehi Round-Up Week.
Lehi Round-Up Week, usually held every summer, was canceled this year, much like many other city festivals and celebrations. The Round-Up is a longstanding tradition in Lehi, which began decades ago with a rodeo.
To help residents reminisce about the yearly celebration, the Round-Up committee held a photo contest earlier in the summer. People were invited to enter photos of past Round-Up Week activities. Photos of parades, families celebrating together and, of course, the rodeo, were shared on the Lehi Round-Up Facebook page.
The weeklong celebration is named for one of the most popular events every year – the rodeo. According to Lara Bangerter, Lehi Historical Society and Archives director, the first year that the city hosted a rodeo is believed to be 1937. The rodeo is now held for three nights every year during Round-Up Week.
“Rodeos happened in conjunction with Utah Beet Sugar Days and the Blackhawk Encampment and Homecoming of 1940 in the years prior to Lehi’s rodeo being named ‘The Lehi Round-Up Rodeo,’” Bangerter said. In 1941, a “Name the Celebration” contest was held and Mrs. Ethel Hunger created the winning name. From then on, the rodeo was known as “The Lehi Round-Up.”
Something that sets the Lehi Round-Up Week apart from many other typical city celebrations is the Stock Parade. Lehi Round-Up Week Chairperson Kate Daly has lived in Lehi her entire life and remembers going to the Stock Parade as well as other events every year while growing up.
“On Thursday, the horses and rodeo family are always featured in a stock parade,” Daly said. “That’s what opens the rodeo. Every entry is pulled by horses.”
Those entries include the Lehi City Silver Band Wagon, the rodeo queen and royalty and Miss Lehi and royalty. Every person in the Stock Parade is either riding a horse or in a wagon or carriage pulled by horses.
“The Stock Parade goes straight down Main Street and to the rodeo grounds,” Daly said.
Every year, according to Daly, there is a joke around town about how people begin setting chairs up along the Stock Parade route a week before the event. People post photos on social media of the chairs lining up several days in advance. “Our community definitely loves the parade,” Daly said.
The Stock Parade is not the only parade held during Lehi Round-Up Week. The Miniature Parade is always held on Friday of the week. This parade is also unique because the floats have to be small in size. Church groups and other groups make the miniature floats, which are typically pulled by children.
That is not the last parade of the week. The Mammoth Parade is held on Saturday of Round-Up Week. This is a traditional parade, where all entries are welcome.
Other events that normally make up the week-long festivities include a chalk art competition, local art show, live concerts, Family Fun Day in the Park and a chuckwagon breakfast.
According to Daly, the first Concert in the Park that is held on Monday of Round-Up Week is the most popular event, in addition to the three days of rodeo.
“The concert is a kick-off for the rest of summer. We do concerts in the park each week after that until school starts,” Daly said.
Daly’s favorite memory of Round-Up Week from her childhood is the Family Fun Day in the Park. This is always held after the Mammoth Parade and has a variety of activities for everyone in the family, including a petting zoo, face painting and vendors.
“My favorite was always the showmobile. The city has a trailer that converts to a stage and people perform. My favorite was when Miss Lehi would perform.”