After an unwanted break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Samaria Days has finally returned to the valley, with a series of well-attended and entertaining events. This year’s Samaria Days featured entertainment by the local musicians Intermountain America, a movie night, games for kids, a chicken chase, and a large and active auction to raise funds for Samaria projects. The first Samaria Celebration was held in 1968 to commemorate the centennial of the town, at one point the biggest in Oneida county. The modern version of the Samaria Days festival was first held in 1998 on the town’s 130 year anniversary. Since then, the celebration has generally been held on an annual basis, recent exceptions notwithstanding. The many in attendance expressed the belief that it was great to finally have the celebration back.
The official Samaria Day celebrations kicked off with the traditional Queen contest. Ten young women vied for the crown, competing in several “farm-related” competitions, including hammering nails, sewing on a button, taking water from one bucket to the next, stacking dice as hay bales, as well as more whimsical activities like shooting a cup off the table with a squirt gun.
The girls were scored after each of the events, and at the end points were added up to see which girl would come out on top.
Azure Ashby was crowned the 2022 Samaria Days queen, Addie Waldron was the first attendant, and Sam Waldron was the second attendant. The Queen and attendants were on hand throughout the festival to provide support for the ensuing events. Friday’s event ended with a film screening at dusk and a pleasant drop in the temperature.
Saturday morning began with a fun run, scheduled early to beat the heat. (Results at end of story.)
Saturday’s weather ended up staying perfect for the event, with cloud cover throughout most of the morning and afternoon providing some relief from the sun. It wasn’t cool enough to prevent any of the kids on hand from enjoying various water games, however, or keep them off Samaria Park’s playground equipment.
Grandpa Bell’s Medicine Show was on hand to provide genuine fake bottles of snake oil to the crowd after a convincing job of hawking the miracle product. As the pitch goes: “My Grandpa Bell’s snake oil cures dropsy, bladder ailments, footrot, despairia, liver complaints, rheumatism, gangrene, laryngitis, teeth and gum disease, scroffall, worms, baldness, euphoria, gas, ingrown toenails, cross- Eye piles, salmonella, rampant liver, cramps, colitis, halitosis, neuralgia, earache, deafness, snake bite, constipation, diarrhea, teething pain—if it doesn’t kill you, it’ll cure you, for only five dollars !” Bottles sold out quickly, with the loud proviso not to drink the concoction under any circumstances.
The medicine show led into the auction, which was probably the busiest event of the weekend, with dozens of people bidding on a wide variety of items donated for the support of the Samaria Heritage Square and related causes. From highly bid upon items such as handmade quilts from the Oneida Quilters Guild and decorative rock donated by Hess Pumice to baked goods donated by a number of bakers, the auction brought in a good haul and featured several entertaining bidding wars. Lynn Livingston served as the auctioneer, with the Samaria Days Queen and Attendants helping out.
The afternoon’s entertainment was provided by Intermountain America, a local bluegrass and roots rock band, with some additional support from a number of young musicians.
The traditional chicken chase was held later in the afternoon, to the delight of everyone but the chickens.
“Samaria Days is a time for bringing people together to enjoy visiting and participating in the activities,” said Luke Waldron, in between busily running back and forth from activity to activity during the morning. “It’s about family, friendships, and memories being made.”
Marie Waldron, Samaria Days Chair, had the following to say: “Samaria Days is a pack of teenage girls racing to fill buckets of water trying to win the coveted queen crown. It’s the sweet taste of a warm s’more and cute little sticky hands and faces. It’s crunching popcorn at the movie. It’s the wonderful smell of delicious hamburgers sizzling on the grill. It’s walking across the finish line with a Blue Goose clutched in a little child’s hand. It’s the triumph of those who ran to have survived. It’s the steady cadence of the auctioneer’s voice as numbers fly in the air. It’s yummy cookies, brownies and candy. It’s the laughter and broad smiles as children compete and win prizes. Its people donating time, services, and goods. It’s a lot of hard work, but most importantly; it’s wonderful memories being made that will last a lifetime!”
After the COVID cancellations of the past few years, the importance of community events such as Samaria Days was fully on display as participants lingered throughout the afternoon soaking in the friendly gathering.
Results for the one mile event were as follows: Aezlyn Summers (7:55), Addie Waldron (8:38) Cassidy Shrenk (9:11), Aleah Summers (9:24) Alivia Waldron (9:39), McCall Summers (12:14), Jayden Price (12:20), Austin Shrenk (13:21), Johnny Shrenk (13:29), George Price (13:38), Trevor Price (13:38), Easton Valentine (14 :02), Alivia Seamons (16:58) Declan Summers (20:25) Alyssa Seamons (21:39) Nathan Price (21:40), Alicia Seamons (21:42) Jessica Price (21:43), Samantha Waldron (22:06), Dylan Waldron (22:06), Marie Waldron (22:06), GeAnna Roe (22:06) Holly Llewelyn (22:06) and Lexi Valentine (22:06).
Results for the 5K event: Brycen Talbot (21:39) Hadley Summers (24:42), Elgieh Mathews (25:06), Bobbi Summers (25:06), Blaiz Wright (33:36) Lisa Wright (33:37) ), Courtney Olsen (1:14:37), Derek Olsen (1:14:45), Aurora Olsen (1:14:50), Forrest Olsen (1:14:55), August Olsen (1:14:57) ).