A Guide to the 2013 Provo

This morning on my walk on the foothills of Provo I watched a half-dozen hot air balloons rise above the valley floor, floating for a time in the early blue morning. Cars (mostly minivans) were packed at the base of the Y Mountain trail head, and I looked at all the different license plates: Nevada, Nebraska, California, Oregon, Arizona, most of them proudly tagged with BYU stickers somewhere on the vehicle' skin.

Did you know the Fourth of July is a big deal in Provo? For months up to the date there are events, galas, award ceremonies all culminating on the big, hot, sweaty summer day. There's a balloon festival, a carnival, a parade and picnics The town sends off a patriotic love letter to America with gallons of fireworks that echo off the mountains with heart-pounding blasts. This year Kelly Clarkson and Carly Rae Jepsen will sing to 60,000 spectators at the Stadium of Fire.And thousands of minivans packed with children in buzz-cuts and parents with knee-length shorts will descend on our valley from all over the country. This town loves America.

Welcome, everyone. Thanks for coming into our town.

Now listen, you know me, there's always some caveat right? Well, I guess I'm just a little proud of this town. Not necessarily the Provo you see at the Freedom Festival events, but the Provo that's bubbling just below the surface. The Provo that keeps hitting high ranking in national polls. The Provo that is transcending out of the beauty-queen, marching-band, small town parade moments. A Provo that is progressive and diverse, vibrant and pro-community. You might get little hints of it here and there while you are visiting. But I'm afraid you won't get a huge dose of it unless someone gives you a little guide. So here's mine:

Eat at Communal.

Check out Muse Music Cafe's 100 Block Party with the soul of the Provo music scene Chance Lewis.

Follow around the Waffle Love truck and buy a liege.

Check out the incredible archetectual feat of the burned tabernacle-turning-into-a-temple.

Eat at Slab pizza.

Spend a day flipping around the pools of our new state-of-the-art Rec Center.

 Take a ride to Salt Lake on our new Frontrunner Trax train.

Order a drink from Station 22's massive soda collection and people-watch downtown.

Take the kids and a picnic to our new splash pad park.

Try the chicken tacos at Bleu Poblano in the late evening under the twinkle lights.

Shop at Encore thrift store on Center Street.

Come to our Rooftop Concert's Rolling Stones Tribute with all the Provo Rockstars. (Believe me, you'll never think of Provo the same way again.)

 Try Roccos Taccos truck on Center and University for fish tacos and cinnamon scones.

Tour the La Nay Ferme.

(I would suggest hiking the Y, but it looks like you've already done that.)

Anyway, Provo is changing. I hope you'll love what we've done to the place.

Happy Fourth of July!

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