Many of us remember celebrating the 4th of July holiday with our families, friends and neighbors in a small-town setting with lots of fun activities, but it’s hard to find that kind of experience anymore.

But Buhl and Rupert in Southern Idaho put on quite the show for the week of 4th of July. Their event calendars are action-packed with something for everyone for days in a row! Think golf, fun runs, bike races – LAWN MOWER RACES! – pancake breakfast, Wild West Shootout, trout feed, parades, swimming, rodeos, live music, horse races, tractor pulls and, of course, fireworks!

Both communities draw more than 8,000 people for Independence Day events and activities, essentially doubling their populations for the week-long holiday.

“This is the old-fashioned watermelon seed-spitting 4th of July celebration with kids riding down main street on bicycles that we did in the 1950s,” says Steve Kaatz of the Buhl Chamber of Commerce. “You really get that flavor of small town America.”

“I grew up in Rupert, and it’s just amazing how our 4th of July event has grown into something that’s so special,” adds Cathy Leal, executive director of the Wilson Theater in Rupert. “There’s a ton of great stuff going on, it’s home town, it’s comfort, it’s things that you don’t see any more in bigger cities.”

Buhl Sagebrush Days kicks off on Saturday, July 1, with the Buhl Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament at Clear Lake Country Club, and their festivities run through Wednesday, July 5th with a full slate of rodeo action at the Buhl Rodeo Grounds.  

With Buhl being the Trout Capital of the World, you can’t miss the Trout Festival in downtown Buhl on Monday, July 3rd, starting at 4 p.m., with an all-you-can-eat rainbow trout feed and live music provided by Copperhead and Uppa Creek.

On Tuesday, July 4th, the day starts with a fun run, pancake breakfast, Main Street Parade at 10:30 a.m., and live music and swimming at Eastman Park all day long, including a fire hose competition at 2 p.m. There’s also a full slate of rodeo activities at the Buhl Rodeo Grounds on the evening of the 4th, and on the evening of Wednesday, July 5th. See the event schedule for more details.   

In Rupert, activities begin on Friday, June 30th, with a “Christmas in July” breakfast, food booths in the Rupert Square, and then Rupert’s own unique Wild West Shootout 6 p.m. at the Wilson Theater, directed and produced by Jean Phillips. The Wild West Shootout also is featured on Saturday, July 1st, and Monday, July 3rd at 6 p.m.    

“Mail-order brides” is the theme for the Wild West program this year. The brides will be traveling to Rupert in a replica of the U.S. Mail Wagon used in the early 1900s, and some villains will try to highjack the wagon and steal the brides while the cowboys wait for their wives to arrive, Phillips said.

“We’ll be blowing up a wagon, so the bad guys can’t get away, and we’ve got real guns and blanks, and lots of special effects, that’s my forte,” she said.

The Rocky Mountain Dancers from Burley will perform during the 30-minute show, and a singer will perform “I can’t say no,” from the Broadway musical “Oklahoma!” About 35 people in all will be participating in the production.

There is no charge to watch the performance. Sales of root beer and black licorice help cover the costs.

Other activities in Rupert include “Mutton Bustin” at the Minidoka Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 1st,  horse races at the at the fairgrounds on July 1st and July 2nd, live music from “The Salamanders” on Friday, June 30th,  “The Long Run” (Eagles Tribute Band) on Saturday July 1st, “Triple Shot,” on Sunday, July 2nd, and “The Chancellors” (oldies hits) on Monday, July 3rd. Also on the 3rd, they’ll do the Firecracker Lawn Mower Racers at the fairgrounds at 6 p.m.

On the 4th of July, they’ll start the day with a 40K bike race and 5K and 10K running races, and the 4th of July Parade at 11 a.m. For more details on all of the events, go here.  

We hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July holiday!

For more information about Independence Day activities in Southern Idaho or to find the best deals on lodging, go to