SOUTH OGDEN — Thanks to the summer solstice, this Friday will be the longest day of the year.
And thanks to the city of South Ogden, it should also be one of the more fun and exciting times of the year.
South Ogden Days turns 20 years old this weekend, bringing two days of entertainment, food, games, contests, vendor booths and — of course — fireworks. Most events will be held at Friendship Park, 692 E. 5500 South.
South Ogden Mayor Russ Porter said South Ogden Days offers an opportunity for the community to come out and enjoy spending some time with their neighbors.
“I think it’s a good tradition,” he said. “We’re a city, but we have sort of a small-town community feel, and I like that a lot. There’s going to be growth and change, but if we keep some of these traditions it will retain that small-community feel.”
The fun starts at 4 p.m. Friday with a carnival, complete with rides and games of chance. Carnival hours will be 4-11 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available at Maceys grocery store, or at the park.
New this year is the Spartan Challenge, which continues throughout the two days of the festival.
Ember Herrick, special events coordinator for the city, said the Spartan Challenge features teams of four competing in a Greek mythology-themed contest.
There’s the Mount Olympus Climb (a scramble to the top of an 80-foot climbing wall to retrieve a flag), the Siren Shark Tank (a paddle across a 100-foot pool to retrieve treasure), Hydra’s Hide Out (throwing axes and shooting arrows at a Hydra’s head), and Medusa’s Mud Pit (competitors find a sword and shield in a mud pit).
Herrick says at 8 p.m. Saturday, the two teams with the best times will again compete for prizes.
A Sunset Solstice 5K Glow Run and Kids K takes place at 8 p.m. Friday at the park. Check-in begins at 7 p.m., and registration is available at www.southogdendays.com.
Friday’s activities conclude with a movie in the park. This year’s feature is a 9:30 p.m. showing of the 1985 film “Back to the Future.” The movie title dovetails nicely with this year’s South Ogden Days theme, “Preserving our past, building our future.” The mayor and city council will serve free popcorn at the movie.
On Saturday, the fun gets started with a parade at 9 a.m. It starts at South Ogden Junior High School, 650 E. Pleasant Valley Drive. The route takes the parade north on 850 East, west on 5300 South, and then south on 700 East, ending back at the junior high school.
Other activities on Saturday include a new Spikeball Tournament, a Pickleball Tournament, and the popular Mud Volleyball Tournament.
At 11 a.m. the city’s Battle of the Bands Competition begins, and at 1 p.m. local entertainment begins on the stage in the park.
The evening’s events on the stage include the Battle of the Bands finals at 6 p.m., the South Ogden’s Got Talent finals at 7 p.m., and a concert with headliners Ryan Shupe & The Rubber Band.
A fireworks display will close South Ogden Days.
“We’ve got some fun new events, with a free concert by Ryan Shupe & The Rubber Band, and a ton of vendors,” Herrick said. “We would love the public to come out and enjoy themselves at South Ogden Days.”