Superintendent Jock Whitworth has announced that Zion National Park will celebrate its 100th Anniversary on Friday, July 31, 2009. A day of special events will commemorate the 100 years since the original establishment of the park as Mukuntuweap National Monument on July 31, 1909.

The day of celebration will begin with a ceremony at the Grotto in Zion Canyon at 9:30 a.m. The event will be preceded by musical entertainment by a brass quintet from the 23rd Army Band. The colors wil be presented by the 2nd of the 222 Field Artillery Color Guard. Speakers will include National Park Service Intermountain Region Deputy Director Laura Joss, Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth, Director of the Utah Office of Tourism Leigh von der Esch, Springdale Mayor Pat Cluff and special guest J.L. Crawford. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the rehabilitated Grotto Museum building, the oldest building in the park will be dedicated. There will be an opportunity to tour the building after the dedication.

Southern Paiute Traditional Dancers will perform on the lawn of the Zion Lodge at 1 p.m. The U.S. Postal Service will be offering special Centennial postmarks at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center from 2-5 p.m. To finish the day, a string sextet from the Chamber Music Society of Southern Utah will perform on the lawn of the Zion Lodge at 8 p.m. Those planning to attend the concert should bring a blanket or folding chair for seating.

Children’s programs include games and activities, Ranger-led hikes, and Ranger talks will be offered at the Zion Nature Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ranger-led programs for the general public will be offered throughout the day.

Park entrance fees will be waived on July 31. All other fees will remain in effect. Check the shuttle schedule on the back of the Zion Map and Guide to be sure you allow enough time to reach the events you wish to see. The public is invited to attend the 100th anniversary ceremony and events throughout the day and help the park celebrate its 100-year history and begin its second century.