MANTUA – Every summer, Mantua residents welcome visitors to their end of Sardine Canyon to celebrate Little Valley Days, but this year the celebration will be bigger. The little town has decided to go all out in its celebration because it is also the town’s sesquicentennial year.
LDS President Lorenzo Snow named the town after his birthplace, Mantua, Ohio, 150 years ago. Before it was called Mantua, the town was known as Little Valley.
The celebration has been going since Monday with activities such as a fishing derby, a historical tour and a magician, but Karen Nelson, one of the celebration’s planners, said Saturday will be the biggest.
“That day is always big and people will come from a ways away,” she said.
Saturday’s events will start early morning and won’t end until almost midnight. At 7 a.m. two hot air balloons will float over the reservoir and the dam race, which includes 200 to 300 participants, will begin. The parade starts an hour later at 10 a.m.
Throughout the rest of the day there will be food, games for kids, horseshoes, a photography display at the town hall, a raffle, a car show, a boat show and water fun with the fire department at 3 p.m. The day will end with a dance at 7 p.m., a lighted boat parade at 9 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m. Nelson said that the lake’s reflection makes the fireworks extra special and that when they start, cars pull off the highway just to watch them.
“It’s pretty fun,” she said. “We may not have the costliest fireworks, but we have the most spectacular view for them.”
Nelson said she credits a grant received by the Box Elder Tourism Department for making this year extra special.
“Because it is our 150th it’s just been kind of a huge year this year. Bigger than normal,” she said. “We’re pretty proud of our little town.”