PAYSON -- Seventy-one years ago, residents, many of them farmers, began celebrating the harvest of onions, then a staple of the south Utah County farmland.
Today, most of the residents don't work the fields and cherries have replaced onions as the main commercial crop, but Onion Days recalls those times with celebration.
Onions are no longer grown commercially, City Councilwoman Jan Tanner said.
The event from Sept. 1 to Sept. 4 at the city park on Main Street will also mark Payson's sesquicentennial year — the town was started in 1850 when the first Mormon pioneers settled the area.
Military veterans and others who served during war will be honored in this year's Onion Days to emphasize the theme, "A Century of Heroes." They are invited to ride in the parade in Humvees and other military transport vehicles provided by the Utah National Guard, Tanner said. The parade is Monday, Sept. 4, beginning at 10 a.m.
Earlier that day, Gov. Mike Leavitt is scheduled to speak at a 7:30 a.m. flag ceremony in the city park.
Tanner, a committee of one, said she picked the theme to avoid criticism.
"I can't imagine anyone being critical of a veteran theme," she said.
Residents can register with the city if they or their ancestors served in any war. The list, now numbering more than 1,300, will start an archival record to be kept in City Hall and will be published in a local newspaper, a city worker said.
Payson Community Theater will put on Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" Aug. 25, 26, 28 and Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 4 at 3 p.m. General admission is $5.
The last band concert of the summer will be Sunday, Sept. 3, at 8 p.m.
The schedule of events includes:
Friday, Sept. 1:
5 p.m. — Food booths and carnival
6 p.m. — Baby award program
9 p.m. — Fireworks
Saturday, Sept. 2:
9 a.m. — Fireman's open house
10 a.m. — Children's parade
10:30 a.m. — Children's fair
10:30 a.m. — Youth talent show
Noon — Dutch-oven cook-off
8 p.m. — Cowboy poetry
Sunday, Sept. 3:
2 p.m. — Flower and art show
6:30 p.m. — Fireside
Monday, Sept. 4:
All day — Book fair
7 a.m. — 5K and 10K races
9 a.m. — Boutique in the park
1 p.m. — Entertainment in the park
2 p.m. — Demolition derby.