Laura Seitz, Deseret News
On July 24, 1847, the first group of pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young confidently declaring, “This is the right place.”
After persevering through a journey of approximately 1,300 miles, these pioneers finally had a place to call home and establish roots.
“Whether you’re LDS or not, everyone can draw strength from the pioneers' endurance and fortitude,” said Jodene Smith, co-chair of the Days of ’47 parade committee.
And that is exactly what Days of ’47 Inc. intends to celebrate with its annual parade.
The parade is known for its longevity. It holds the distinction of being one of the oldest parades in America, according to the organization’s website. It first began in 1849, two years after the pioneers entered the valley, and has continued almost consecutively except for a few years during times of war.
Although its route has changed slightly over the years, Smith said the parade has maintained the tradition of beginning at the Brigham Young monument on Temple Square.
“When they moved the monument from Main to State, we then shifted our start location as well to continue the legacy of beginning at the monument,” Smith said.
Paradegoers can look forward to 125 entries this year based on the theme “Pioneers: Pushing Toward Our Future,” including members of the Marine Corps, children from Make-A-Wish and plenty of elaborately decorated floats.
The route starts at South Temple and State Street, then goes east to 200 East, turns south to 900 South, then turns east to 600 East. The route ends at Liberty Park. Spots along the parade route can be saved beginning at 6 p.m. on July 23.
“Find a good spot, have lots of water, good shade and sit back and enjoy,” Smith said.
Many other Pioneer Day celebrations in addition to the Days of ’47 parade will take place around the state. Here is a list of other family-friendly celebrations throughout Utah listed by county. (Note: This is not an all-inclusive list).
Beaver: July 24, 6:45 a.m., Tushar Mountain Park; 9:30 a.m., parade; 11 a.m.-1 p.m., dinner, family history tent and games, City Park; 2 p.m., horse races, Canyon Breeze Race Track; 8 p.m., rodeo; 9:45 p.m., fireworks, Tushar Mountain Park; July 25, 2 p.m., horse races, Canyon Breeze Race Track; 8 p.m., rodeo; July 26, 9 a.m., 5K color fun run, Beaver softball fourplex (435-438-5081)
Box Elder County
Tremonton: July 25, 5 p.m., barbecue contest and booths, Shuman Park, 200 N. Tremont St.; 9 p.m., outdoor screening of “The Lego Movie”; July 26, 7:30 a.m., 5K run, North Park, 100 W. 600 North; 8 a.m., breakfast; 9 a.m., booths, Shuman Park; 9 a.m., volleyball and Wiffle Ball tournaments, Stevens Park, 670 N. 100 West; 10 a.m., bounce house rides, Shuman Park; 1 p.m., lunch and fashion show, BRV Museum, 11 E. Main; 7:30 p.m., concert, Shuman Park; 10 p.m., fireworks, Stevens Park (435-257-9500 or tremontoncity.com)
Logan: July 24, 7 a.m., fun run, Willow Horseshoe Park, 500 W. 700 South; 7:30-10 a.m., pancake breakfast, Willow Park, 450 S. 700 South; 9 a.m., basketball, horseshoe and soccer tournaments, Willow Horseshoe Park; 10 a.m.-dark, booths, Willow Park; noon, parade, ends at Willow Park; 1 p.m., play land and car show, Willow Park; 8:30 p.m., Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband; 10 p.m., fireworks (435-716-9250 or loganutah.org)
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