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Ashley Lowery, Deseret News
West Jordan resident Dennis Butterfield, right, works on his stake's float with the help of Tom Udy, center, and Jim Colbert.

From one side the float depicted a scene straight from 1853, the beginning of the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. The other side portrayed the modern day construction process of the Daybreak Temple.

That float from the West Jordan Mountainview Stake and many others bound for Thursday's Pioneer Day celebration will be showcased tonight and Tuesday evening as the Days of '47 committee hosts its annual Float Preview Party. This year's Days of '47 float theme is "Still Pioneering Together."

The Mountainview Stake decided to dedicate its float to the late Latter-day Saint President Gordon B. Hinckley's legacy of temple building. The stake chose to title the float, "Utah Temple Building Pioneers."

Richard Jameson was called as the director of the stake's float-building committee. With his experience building sets for LDS movies such as "Legacy," Jameson began drawing up plans for the float back in February.

"You're just dumbfounded," he explained of the process, "You have to build something, and it has to say something about the pioneers."

By March, Steve and Diane Garner were asked to be on the stake's float committee, as were seven other couples. The couples that were called to the committee each brought talents with them that would be beneficial to the project. The group consisted of a professional sign maker, several mechanics, homebuilders and artists.

The group decided the float would depict the construction methods of temples, showing both pioneer and modern-day techniques. Tools, scaffolding and cranes are on either side of the float, depending on the era of their use.

"We decided to show how far temples have come from Salt Lake being built in 40 years to newer temples being built in two to three years," Jameson said.

With the group's combined skills, they were able to put the paper plans into action and began crafting the float. But it wasn't easy.

The committee was given a $3,500 budget, with the possibility to increase that to $5,500. While committee members were able to scrounge for scraps at construction sites, finding and building everything they wanted was tough. But they completed the float within their budget.

Diane Garner explained the problems associated with the height of their float base. They had to remember the height restrictions set due to traffic lights in Salt Lake City. During the parade, the two temples and an Angel Moroni will have to fit securely under the lights.

The committee expected the float took about 600 combined hours from the drawing board to completion — for a one-day parade. "It's not a business I'd like to be in," Jameson humorously, yet gravely, stated.

But even though Jameson says he is done with the business, the experience was worthwhile for him. "I learned a lot and made a lot of new friends," he said.

The float preview party will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Tuesday at the South Towne Expo Center. Admission is free.


E-mail: cmadsen@desnews.com