The first Rexburg Heritage Festival will be held on Sept. 22 and 23. Opening ceremonies will begin at 5 p.m., with an official welcome from Jerry Merrill, Mayor of Rexburg, and President Clark G. Gilbert, 16th President of BYU-Idaho. The festival will last that night and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. the following day.

Activities will include an improv comedy show, tractor parade, chili cook-off and many more family-friendly activities, according to

Many of these events will be held at the college avenue fields, while others are located at various venues nearby.

Mayor Merril said the Heritage Festival was designed to bring together the citizens of Rexburg and the students of BYU-I.

“I have lived here for 45 years,” Merrill said. “I went to school here at Ricks College, and we had football teams and basketball teams, and that brought the community together.”

Since the transition from Ricks College to BYU-I, the university does not include legitimate school sports teams. Intramural sports have replaced these teams.

Brett Sampson, the University Public Affairs Director, said they have not produced the same excitement the previous programs did.

“One of my goals when I ran for mayor was to try to figure out a way to make us feel a little more united and a little more like one community,” Merrill said.

BYU-I is a large university with students from all over the country and the world.

The mayor said how glad he was to have BYU-I in Rexburg, and without it, Rexburg would be just another small town in Idaho like St. Anthony or Rigby.

“I would love to go to the festival; I love free food and dancing,” said Carol Wilding, a freshman studying family and consumer sciences.

Sampson said students are expected to have a large turnout. He said students should be excited for this new event and that it could become a yearly tradition.

“Unfortunately, a lot of students choose to kind of stay home [and] watch Netflix and … not take advantage of all the things that can be part of their college experience,” Sampson said.