Grantsville’s 2023 Sociable proved a success this year with a theme of “We are Grantsville” and over 1,500 visitors.
The Sociable events kicked off on Thursday, March 16 during the day when all of the school children in Grantsville visited the high school to watch the Children’s Sociable, a talent show, which included performances by their peers.
The Children’s Sociable continued on Thursday evening at 5 and 7 p.m. with performances for the community.
On Saturday, March 18, there was a car show at Grantsville High School that started at 11 a.m. Around 40 classic cars made their appearance at the show.
At 1 p.m., there was an honored guest luncheon for those aged 75 and older.
During the luncheon, those who made the event possible were recognized, including committee members and the piano player.
An award was given to the oldest person in attendance — 104-year-old Ida Hogan.
“I like meeting my friends,” Hogan said when asked what her favorite thing about the sociable is.
Hogan has been coming to the Sociable for 15 or 20 years, she said.
An award was given to Bill Brew as well, who turned 100 on the day of the Sociable, and those in attendance sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
Brew, who currently lives in Nevada, has been attending the Sociable since 1935 after graduating from Grantsville High School.
“I enjoy everything about the Sociable,” Brew said. “The programs are excellent, the meals are excellent, and it’s fun to see all of the exhibits in the halls.”
After the honored guest luncheon, the first program of the day was held at 2:30 p.m. Another program was held at 5:30 p.m.
Both programs featured the same performances, and began with a welcome message from Chad Johnson and Suzanne Capell, co-chairs of the 2023 Sociable. Johnson and Capell recognized the honored guests and then introduced each other.
Johnson has lived in Grantsville most of his life, but wasn’t an avid Sociable-goer until 2019. Johnson has been pleased to serve as a Sociable chair this year.
“My dad and both my grandpas have been co-chairmen of the Sociable,” he said. “What a privilege it is for me to come behind them and do that,” he told the Transcript.
Capell was born and raised in Australia and moved to Grantsville around 25 years ago. She has four children who have all graduated from Grantsville High School. Capell feels at home in Grantsville even though she wasn’t born and raised there.
“I’m proud to call Grantsville home,” she said.
An opening prayer was given before the official program began. Then, the national anthem was sung by a group of individuals from the Hughes family, along with Jenean Christensen who accompanied them on piano.
During the program, a fallen hero’s tribute dance was performed by the Grantsville High School Dance Company. Following the dance, a military tribute was given.
During the tribute, each military anthem was played and those in the audience who had served in each branch of the military stood and were recognized.
Exit 99, a local country band, took to the stage next to perform the song, “Half of My Hometown.”
Following Exit 99, there was a dedication to honored guests with three girls singing and dancing along to songs from the 50’s and 60’s. Then Scout Sutton, a local ballerina and former Miss Grantsville 2021, performed the Princess Aurora Ballet.
The Grantsville High School cheerleaders led the audience in the high school’s song, and danced to their winning region cheer routine.
After the cheerleaders, “Teach Your Children” was performed by the Skogerboe family. Then, an entertaining swing dance was performed by four couples.
Continuing the program, three sisters performed and played a song called “Wild Horses.”
Next, Taylor and Tanner Hutchins took to the stage to sing “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” Then, the song “Along Came Jones” was sung and acted out, which helped the audience enjoy a laugh.
To close out the program, “Route 66” was played on various instruments by a group and “The Party’s Over” was sung by a group of hometown performers.
Between each performance, Karma Dale, Grantsville resident, spoke and entertained the audience with jokes and stories from previous Sociables and educated people about the history of Grantsville.
At the very end of each program, Johnson and Capell announced 2024’s Sociable co-chairs, Kami Ekins and Jeff Williams.
Ekins has lived in Grantsville her whole life.
“Kami has a lot of family history in Grantsville and this will be a great tradition to carry on,” Capell, who selected Ekins, said about her.
Williams, selected by Johnson, is also a lifelong resident of Grantsville.
“He understands the impact of this tradition in the community,” Johnson said confidently.
After the first program, dinner was served from 4-8 p.m.
During dinner, a roll, salad, roast beef, carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy, and Soelberg’s famous eclairs were served.
There was a live band and dancing from 5-11 p.m.
One of the features of the Sociable were the hallways of Grantsville High School, which were decorated with Grantsville memorabilia, Sociable memories, and school history.
“The Sociable this year was a homerun and a grand slam,” said Janice Marriott, honored guest program co-chair.
The Grantsville Sociable first began in 1884 after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officials recommended towns and areas take part in a celebration honoring their fathers and mothers, according to a Transcript Bulletin article written in 2005.
Grantsville held its first Old Folks Sociable event on Jan. 6, 1884.
The first sociable was restricted to married couples only, according to Alma Gardiner’s 1959 book “The Founding and Development of Grantsville, Utah.” Attendance was by invitation only. Due to this restriction, the first event was called the “Married Folks Pic Nic Sociable,” according to Gardiner.
By 1886, the event was called the “Old Folks Annual Picnic Sociable,” based on the picture of a flier in Gardiner’s book.
Originally, the program was put together by only one chairman, but after a few years, a chairwoman and a chairman were selected and it is still that way today.
During some of its former years, dancing was held on the dancing floor of the old opera house. Because the flood was on springs, community members were able to dance all night long, according to Marriott.
The Children’s Sociable was started in 1984 as a supplement to the adult’s Sociable.
In 2015, the committee changed the name of the Sociable from “Grantsville Old Folks Sociable” to the “Grantsville Sociable.”
The committee thought people took the name of the event too literal and thought the event was only for older residents. The Sociable is intended for everyone 18 and older, but it is held in honor of the community’s older residents, explained Hal Sagers, Sociable chairman in 2015.
Since the start of the Grantsville Sociable in 1884, it has only been suspended four times for disease. There was no Sociable in 1901 during a smallpox epidemic, an influenza outbreak in 1919, and during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
“With enthusiasm and heartfelt dedication, this unique institution has been carried on throughout the years,” Gardiner wrote in his book.