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Davis Journal

Brains behind Bountiful’s popular Freedom’s Light Festival

Aug 31, 2023 03:20PM ● By Gail Newbold
Dalane England in period costume. England got her inspiration for the festival 15 years ago while attending an event celebrating the Declaration  of Independence.

Dalane England in period costume. England got her inspiration for the festival 15 years ago while attending an event celebrating the Declaration of Independence.

Even as a young teen, Dalane England was a hard worker, though possibly not by choice.

“My parents wanted their six kids to work hard and we did!” she remembers. “The neighbor across the street sometimes called my mom to say she needed my help for some project or another. Mom would send me over and the neighbor would say, ‘Dalane, I want you to go play with my girls. That’s the project. Go play.’”

England may not have appreciated working so hard at the time, but it created inside her a strong work ethic. This, combined with her passion for protecting the U.S. Constitution, are the reasons behind the success of her brainchild: the annual Freedom’s Light Festival held every September in Bountiful’s City Park.

Inspiration for the festival occurred 15 years ago when England attended an event celebrating the Declaration of Independence. “I was moved and impressed,” she says. “I realized we’d always celebrated Independence Day as a country but not the Constitution. I felt inspired to change that.”

The federal government requires public schools to teach the Constitution every September, but many teachers told England they didn’t know much about it and didn’t have any curriculum. England made it her goal to help teachers make the Constitution fun and interesting to their students.

Two months later in September of 2008, the first Freedom’s Light Festival took place. There were about 40 volunteers and only six schools registered for field trips, plus other visitors. Since that time, average attendance at the festival has grown to include thousands of schoolchildren, an equal number of citizens, and about 150 volunteers. There are over 40 reenactors and activities to experience. 

The festival takes place on Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bountiful City Park at 400 N. 200 West.

There’s much for her to be proud of, but mostly she’s appreciative of the many volunteers who sacrifice their time to be a part of the festival. “Each volunteer dresses in period clothing and re-enacts a person from history,” she said. “A lot of effort goes into learning their parts. Many return year after year. They fall in love with the person they’re portraying. They love sharing the stories of the amazing things these people did.”

In the past few years, England has discovered and included many stories of America’s Black heroes of the revolution and the sacrifices they made to create a free country. There are portrayals of famous founding fathers and mothers, as well as ordinary people who were no less heroic. “We’re always looking for ways to make these life-changing principles more engaging and experiential,” she adds.

Her greatest challenge is not having enough time to fundraise because most of her efforts go toward putting on the actual event. “We start working on the next one almost as soon as everything is put away from the last one,” she said. There are donation boxes at the festival, but people can also donate at