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West Jordan Journal

A taste of Americana at West Jordan’s annual carnival

Jul 29, 2019 03:46PM ● By Alison Brimley

Visitors to West Jordan’s carnival ride the swings on July 4. (Alison Brimley/City Journals)

By Alison Brimley | [email protected]

West Jordan’s summer carnival, held this year on July 4, 5, and 6, was just one of many events that took place as part of the 65th annual Western Stampede, hosted at the West Jordan Civic Center and presented by Jordan Valley Medical Center along with other local sponsors. 

After the Grand Parade kicked off the festivities on the morning of July 4, the carnival began at Veteran’s Memorial Park. The carnival lasted from noon to 11 p.m. on all three days. Other events included the rodeo, which took place each evening at the West Jordan Rodeo Arena, and the Linda Buttars Memorial Fun Run (including a 5k run as well as a 1-mile family walk) on Saturday morning. The festivities wrapped up on Saturday night with a free screening of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” at Veteran’s Memorial Park. 

“Most people associate the Western Stampede with the rodeo, but it encompasses all three days of city celebrations,” said West Jordan Events Coordinator Heather Everett. Overall, she calls the weekend’s events a definite success. The rodeo completely sold out on July 4 and came close to selling out on the 5th and 6th. Even the fireworks show was well attended, despite rain and wind.

While entrance to the carnival was free, carnival goers had to purchase individual tickets for the rides—or a wristband good for unlimited rides could be purchased in advance for $20 (or $30 on the day of the event). With individual rides costing $3 to $6 each, the wristband was well worth the price. But visitors who attended the carnival on Saturday got an even better deal: buy-one-get-one-free wristbands were offered from noon to 4 p.m. 

Mary Martinez, a resident of West Jordan, has been attending the carnival since she was a teenager and now brings her own kids. 

“It’s a lot different from what I grew up with,” Martinez said. “It was a lot more when I grew up. When I was younger, this place was packed—rides, vendors, booths of all different kinds.” Today the vendor list seems to be much shorter. But she still enjoys attending with her kids. 

“They love the rides,” Martinez said. “And it’s definitely a lot cheaper than Lagoon.” 

For the more faint-hearted carnival-goers, the event offered classics such as swings, Ferris wheel and bumper boats. For those less prone to nausea, there was the tilt-a-whirl, zipper and more. Food vendors stationed in trucks and tents around the perimeter of the park included Famous Dave’s BBQ, Dinky Donuts, the Pizza Bus and many more. More centrally located were carnival classics such as corn dogs, funnel cakes and cotton candy. 

While the carnival opened at noon on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the entertainment began at 4 p.m., offering a unique schedule of performers each day. There were musical performances from acts as diverse as Joshy Soul and the Lyric Opera Theater; dance performances in many styles; pie eating and watermelon eating competitions; and even a cowboy hypnotist.  

Whether you grew up attending the carnival like Mary Martinez or not, just walking around West Jordan’s carnival was enough to drum up some serious nostalgia—an activity that feels perfectly suited to any Fourth of July weekend. 

“We’ve had really good feedback from the community,” Everett said.. “Our residents really enjoyed it..”