The 2017 Grantsville Sociable will take a look back at the long history of the event — and the city — in its 133rd edition this Saturday.
The theme, “Unforgettable,” focuses on major events in Grantsville City’s history and is a callback to prior editions of the event. “Unforgettable” has been the theme in previous Sociables, most recently 23 years ago.
Sociable co-chairs Gary Butler and Cari Watson said the theme will inform the program and decorations at the event, highlighting significant events in the city’s history like the high school fire, high school sports championships and veterans.
“We went through a few themes,” Watson said. “… To me, it was a theme that just was comfortable. It was simple with limitless possibilities.”
While the theme changes every year, the traditional aspects of the Sociable — the program, dinner, dancing and honored guest reception — will remain the same.
“I think it’s going to run along the same lines that it has every year for 133 years,” Butler said.
A car show will return to the event and highlights from the children’s sociable will be performed while the bands change during the dances, according to the co-chairs.
“We are excited about that because a lot of people have not known what to do between the two band changes and now they’ll be able to entertain the guests, so it’ll be great,” Watson said.
There will also be golf carts to escort the honored guests from their vehicles to the banquet hall, Butler said. Honored guests to the event, which include all attendees 75 years and older, attend the Grantsville Sociable for free and have a reception in their honor.
The emphasis on Grantsville’s most venerable residents is one of the reasons Watson, who grew up in Tooele City and graduated from Tooele High, fell in love with the event when she attended for the first time with her husband 31 years ago.
“I was hooked from the beginning,” she said. “But what I loved was that they honored these people who were 75 and older — people who made this community what it is.”
New residents to Grantsville are another group the co-chairs made a special effort to reach out to in the lead-up to this year’s Sociable. Butler said there was a focus on recruiting new residents who have moved into Grantsville and are unaware of the event for the 16 different committees that plan the event.
“So we did kind of reach out to get people who haven’t been before so we can get more people to experience it, especially people that aren’t from here,” he said.
While he was born and raised in Grantsville, Butler said he didn’t attend the Sociable until after he left the city to pursue his career and returned home in 1984, despite his father and uncle participating in the program growing up.
Watson said she had never even heard of the Sociable before attending the event with her husband, a Grantsville native.
“There’s a lot of new people in the community who have no idea what it is and every year I hear someone say ‘This is incredible, I didn’t know they did such an event,’” she said.
Working on the committees has been an opportunity for new residents to meet people and develop friendships, Butler said. Both co-chairs expressed gratitude for the help they’ve received from everyone who has volunteered.
“It’s been incredible, actually,” Watson said. “I think both Gary and I talked about it after our last meeting. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the committees that have stepped up.”
Bulter, who admitted to reservations when asked to be the co-chair, had effusive praise for the work done by the volunteer committees.
“First I thought ‘Wow, these people are so competent at putting this together,’” he said. “I thought, ‘Well, we got so lucky or blessed that we picked the right people.’ We really feel that we have some great people in charge of the program, the food, the children’s program, the decorations.”
For Butler, a pilot for United Airlines based out of San Francisco, the Sociable is one of the reasons he was glad to return to his hometown.
“I love Grantsville and that’s why I live here and the Sociable is part of why I love Grantsville,” he said.
Watson, the human resources director for Broken Arrow, said the event is open to any and all who are able to attend.
“Everyone’s welcome,” she said. “There will be something for everyone and if they haven’t gone, then come try it out and those who’ve long loved it, to come back and enjoy.”
Tickets to the Sociable are available online through a link on the event’s Facebook page and can also be purchased at Soelberg’s in Grantsville and Stansbury Park, Grantsville City Hall and Macey’s in Tooele. Advance sale tickets are $18 while those purchased at the door are $20.
The Sociable kicks off this Saturday with a car show, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The first program of the evening starts at 2:30 p.m., with dinner running from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.