Fireworks will follow the Red Rock & Blues: Moab's Fourth of July Celebration taking place on Thursday, July 4, at Swanny City Park. The fireworks display will be visible from the park. [Moab Sun News file photo]

When we think of the Fourth of July, we often picture large community gatherings, picnics in the park, family games and (of course) fireworks. This year Moab residents can have it all.

While the municipal fireworks display has been a constant, Moab has not had a Fourth of July community celebration for several years. However this much-missed event is back this year and bigger than before thanks to collaborative efforts by the Moab Chamber of Commerce, City of Moab, Grand County and the Moab Folk Festival.

Moab’s Red Rock & Blues Bash will take place on Thursday, July 4, at Swanny City Park, at the corner of 400 North and 100 West. It will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude with the municipal fireworks display after dark.

Vendor booths, games and family activities will be open for everyone from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“All booths are required to bring an activity, along with whatever they may be selling or promoting,” Moab Chamber of Commerce Director Laici Shumway said.

She said that so far the event expects to have booths with jewelry, salsa and other refreshments, as well as informational booths.

Activities will include an escape room, darts and balloons, a roulette wheel with prizes, cornhole, art activities, fabric coloring activities, henna tattoos, face painting and a watermelon eating contest.

From 10 a.m. to noon there will be a co-ed volleyball tournament organized by the City of Moab’s recreation department. Four-person teams are to include two males and two females ages 14 years and up. There will be prizes for the winners. Those who would like to sign up a team are invited to call the Moab City Recreation Department at 435-259-2255 on or before July 3.

Attendees can beat the heat with free swimming from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center (MRAC), located adjacent to Swanny City Park.

Then, from 5 to 7 p.m., there will be a fundraiser dinner for the Grand County High School Art and Design Club to raise money for an art-focused student trip to Ireland and England. Shumway said they will be selling pulled pork dinners for $10 per plate. To purchase a dinner ahead of the event, Shumway said to contact Jamie Riedhead at 435-260-1057 or Christa Green at 435-260-0978.

At 7 p.m., Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband will take the stage. The Ogden-based group plays genre-crossing American rock- and bluegrass-inspired music, providing a dose of musical ambiance until the fireworks start after dark. The public is invited to stay and watch the fireworks display from the park. Local radio station KCYN, found at 97.1 FM, will be playing music choreographed to the fireworks display.

Tara Penner, a mother of two who lives in Moab, said in past years her family has traveled to attend Fourth of July celebrations elsewhere since there was not one in Moab.

“We are thrilled to be able to stay in our hometown to be able to fully celebrate with family and friends,” she said. “Having something like this in our community is priceless and so appreciated. We are really looking forward to it.”

Shumway said the event’s revival came out of a conversation that she had with Moab Mayor Emily Neihaus and Moab Chamber of Commerce President Brendon Cameron about how the city and chamber can work together. The July 4 celebration came up during that talk.

“We decided that we would like to move forward with bringing that celebration back,” she said, adding that she hopes collaborative efforts will keep the event going in future years as something locals look forward to and enjoy.

Shumway said anyone who wishes to have a booth at the event should contact her, or Launa Thomas, who is also with the Moab Chamber of Commerce, by calling 435-259-7814 or emailing

Collaborative effort brings back Independence Day celebration after hiatus

“Having something like this in our community is priceless and so appreciated. We are really looking forward to it.”

When: Thursday, July 4, from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Where: Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West

Cost: Free