For five days in April, residents and friends of Washington City, traditionally celebrate Cotton Days beginning with a junior rodeo at Millcreek Ranch from 5 – 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25; a showing of “Beauty and the Beast – 25th Anniversary edition” on Friday, April 28 at 7 p.m. in Veterans’ Park; and a full day of fun and games on Saturday, April 29.
Certain to be a fun-filled day in Washington City for the young and young-at-heart, it begins at 7 a.m. with your choice of a Lions Club breakfast in Veterans’ Park or a 5K Fun Run at Sullivan Soccer Park. At 9 a.m., the Cotton Days parade will travel from 200 North, along Telegraph ending at Veterans’ Park for the Cotton Days Festival to include vendors, games, food, entertainment, a foam slip-n-slide, a princess party and carnival rides. The day also features a car show at Nisson Park beginning at 10 a.m. and a tractor pull and Mayor’s horseshoe challenge. The day will end at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, April 30, at 5 p.m. there will be a historical meeting at the Washington City museum followed by an ice cream social.
And, if that’s not enough hometown fun, on Monday, May 1, from 5 – 9 p.m., you can enjoy a free family swim party at the Washington City Community Center, 350 N. Community Center.
Faith and cotton were the two reasons early Mormon pioneers first came to Southern Utah in the mid-1800’s. Sent by Brigham Young, 2nd President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, thirty-eight families traveled to this barren desert region in 1857. Most of the settlers were Mormon converts who had formerly lived in the South where cotton was the chief crop, so their call from “the Lion of the Lord” was to grow cotton here in Southern Utah to ensure the independence and self-sufficiency of their Zion. They named their new community, located six miles northeast of downtown St. George, Washington City. In this hot, dry, bug-infested country, these hearty pioneers prepared the ground for planting, dug ditches and built dams while living in tents, wagons and dugouts.
A one-story sandstone Washington Cotton Factory – listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 16, 1971 and now the home of Star Nursery – opened on Mill Creek in 1867 to process locally grown cotton for the settlers. Two more stories were added in 1870 to meet demand but, the mill encountered difficulty finding a reliable supply of raw cotton and suffered from an erratic water flow. After on-and-off success, the cotton factory was “permanently closed in 1898.”
There’s lots to see and do at Washington City Cotton Days and other events during your summer vacation here in Southern Utah. To reserve your beautiful, comfortable and affordable vacation rental under our crystal clear blue sky and overlooking the spectacular red hills of Dixie, find us online at www.stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or www.laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums. We’ll be waiting for you and if you ask, we might even sing “Are You from Dixie” to celebrate Cotton Days and/or your time with us!