It's a parade, petting zoo and partying at Butlerville Days

By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com

In 1877, Butlerville Days consisted of just the Butlers and the McGies. While legend has it that there were five Butlers and only four McGies as the first settlers, the voting favored the name Butlerville, and hence a celebration, 140 years in the making, to recognize all the current citizens of Cottonwood Heights. While the publication “Utah Place Names” indicates that this is mostly lore, it’s a fact that an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 attended Cottonwood Height’s annual festival this year.

For 12 years, Butlerville Days, BV Days for short, has reigned as the premier festival in Cottonwood Heights. An eclectic mix of carnival rides, parade and fireworks was held on Friday and Saturday, July 21–22.

Cottonwood Heights City Events Coordinator Ann Eatchel and volunteer chairperson Kris Monty were the masterminds behind the success of this year’s festivities. They were supported by a citizens committee, the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, Unified Fire Authority crews, CH City Police and Public Services, Canyons School District and the Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee.

This year the festival added more events. According to Dan Metcalf, Cottonwood Heights public relations specialist, “This year we’ve added a craft market, showcasing local artists.”

Metcalf recalls the evolution of the annual fest. “Butlerville Days began the same year we incorporated in 2005. It started as a one-evening event including a parade, a few game booths, ‘bouncy’ attractions, musical entertainment, food vendors and a fireworks show. Over the years the event grew, including a 5K run and other attractions like the Classic and Antique Car Show.”

In the last few years, the popularity of the event has really expanded. “In 2015, we added a small carnival. Last year, we expanded the carnival, added a chalk art contest and more food, including Utah’s famous food trucks. We also added the first-ever Mayor’s Cup Pickleball Tournament.”

This year’s parade included the first-ever grand marshal, with that honor going to Don

Antczak. According to the BV Days festival announcement, “Don has a proud heritage in our community stemming back to the early 1900s when his parents emigrated from Germany. Don was also part of a group that started the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center and was a member of the community council that laid the groundwork for the incorporation of the city. He was also a member of the original CH City Council. Since stepping down from the council, Don has served as a member of the Board of Adjustment and on the Historic Committee. He still works as a crossing guard for present-day Bella Vista Elementary students.”

A realistic steam locomotive that billowed smoke sat atop the city’s float entry this year. The float was titled “Visions of the Past, Steaming toward the Future.” The float received various accolades from several parades around the state, including the Governor’s Award at the Days of ’47 parade.

Ground zero for BV Days events was Butler Middle School. The carnival, pie-eating contests, chalk art and petting zoo were all hosted there. Saturday featured stage entertainment, capped off by the Dance Doctors, which features some of Utah’s first-call musicians and vocalists who perform dance hits from past decades along with current top-40s hits. A fireworks show ended the evening.

“Something different about this year was that the attractions were spaced out over the venue and there was a steady flow of participants throughout both days, instead of just attracting larger groups for the bigger gatherings, like the parade and fireworks,” said Metcalf.

The BV Days committee is already looking at how they can improve upon this year’s event. “BV Days would not be what it is without dozens of volunteers who dedicate their time and talents throughout, before, during and after the event. The CH Youth City Council also chips in a lot. Big shout-out to BV Days Chairperson Kris Monty and her husband Jim (who was last year’s chair),” said Metcalf.

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