Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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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23 comments:

Mimaw said...

You so love your town, and good for you. I live in a suburb of SLC and Provo has always made me go .....ummmmm......mostly because of some awful experiences with Women's Conference, where rude LDS women gather to be rude communally...... I was not born here, but love the Wasatch Mountains. I'm going to give Provo another chance to change my mind....maybe go from ummmmm to WOW.

C. Jane Kendrick said...

Mimaw,
I would never recommend Women's Conference to anyone because BYU is NOT Provo--it's just a corner of it. So you are safe with me.

Thanks for the second chance!

Hilary said...

I am here for the 4th... I will have to check some of this out!

Jennifer said...

In response to your comment Cjane...
Is BYU preventing Provo from becoming the Brooklyn of the intermountain west? When I was a student there 2002-06, I kind of had the opposite impression. I learned to become more liberal in my politics from associating with people in my student ward who came from all over the country. After I got married my husband and I started attending a family ward in the East Sharon stake. They were really good and kind people, but lived up to every sterotype you hear about Mormons from Utah. Most of them had never lived anywhere else. All the same, it still remains one of our favorite wards that we've gone to. Also I would like to point out that Women's Conference is not for BYU students and we hated all those ladies taking over our campus every year. I'm not trolling here and I love your writing Cjane, just a little defensive of my school. Also I really do love it when you write about Provo. I don't feel like I really took the time to get to know the place while I was there and would love to try out some of these places when I come to visit.

Erin said...

We were in Utah Valley last year on the 4th...it is truly such a fun place to be for this holiday. I really love the enthusiasm that is there, even if some activities are... Your recs on restaurants are always good. Last year I even made it over to the rooftop concert for the first time. My husband was skeptical when I said, free concert in Provo, but we both thought it was one of the best nights of the summer. I felt honored to see you preform Gangster Signs live ;). So yes, there is definitely a cool community bubbling under the surface. Keep up the good work!

Heather said...

I literally live 8 blocks from byu and sometimes forget that it's even there. Byu is most definitely a whole different city.

Cookie Marie said...

Every single time I see that pig balloon it makes me giggle. If I were to ever make my way to Provo, that's the hot air balloon I would absolutely love to take a scenic trip on.

Or at the very least, snap a million photos of every angle possible. It's just the cutest thing I could ever see floating across the sky.

downj said...

Are there many different ethnicities in Provo to make it more diverse? I always try to see if there are any non-white people attending rooftop concert series in the photos you post and don't think I have yet to see one. That is so non-representative of any other community in the U.S. , at least any I have ever lived in. Where are the black, Hispanic, middle eastern, Asian, etc people? Maybe I am wrong and the RTC is not representative on Provo. Maybe I am just blind and need to get my eyes checked. I can't imagine growing up in all white America, and I live in a college town as well, Madison WI.

downj said...

I wanted to add, if it is not very culturally diverse I think your postings would go a long way in maybe attracting more people to your town. You seem to be open to new experiences, cultures, back grounds, etc and I hope others in your community hunger to diversify as well (if you are not) It adds so many layers to our stories.

Holly Decker said...

I. Wish. I. Was. There. Amen.

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Delirious said...

Today is the fourth of July here in China. It's such a let down not really having a big celebration. I could get away with setting off firecrackers tonight. My neighbors do it all the time for weddings. lol But I don't even have an American flag here. I think I need to buy one when I go home this summer.

kellymccaleb said...

My dear friend Courtney, if you can tease thousands of people in knee shorts who are busy being lame in Provo... Can I with the same good nature tease you about how you tried more than once to be accepted to BYU and have been a speaker at Women's Conference? Love ya

Carina Bean said...

I mean, you kinda make me want to move to Provo. Never have I spoken those words before.

Alisha said...

Provo is 84% white and 88% LDS. Not quite what I'd call 'diverse.' @downj

melissasavage said...

Happy Fourth C. Jane!

I see your home town balloon pig, and raise you my home town's Skywhale http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/floating-in-wonder-with-skywhale-20130519-2ju9n.html

kiki said...

This almost makes me want to live in Provo. Almost... There's so much there that triggers anxiety and panic that I can't stay long when I do get down there. But I love it! I love all of those things!

Anne said...

Wears me out just reading that list of fantastic things to do in Provo.

Amy said...

Hahaha..Provo, diverse...hahaha. Not At All. I guess if you call brown hair diversity..

Amy said...

Hahaha..Provo, diverse...hahaha. Not At All. I guess if you call brown hair diversity..

Nate and Julie said...

I ate at Slab (Thai peanut chicken) the last time I was in Provo thanks to your recommendation. I dream about it at least once daily. Thank you.

Audra said...

I don't think being culturally diverse is all about the numbers and percentages but more about celebrating those percentages no matter how small. I live in a community rich in Eastern European diversity. Lots of Croatian, Russian, German and Bosnian immigrants. All of which would be classified as white. Sad that some people think color of skin is the key to diversity.

Lillie Mae Acres said...

I want that big pink pig balloon I see.