SALT LAKE CITY — Cousins Jocelyn Butterfield, Genna Mollinet, Lexi Cundick and Brady Cundick sat perched on the old quilt draped over the wooden board laid between two ladders.
Their feet dangled as they watched the Days of '47 KSL 5 Parade intently Wednesday over the heads of other spectators. Their grandmother walked among the family members offering donuts from a Dunkin' Donuts box. Brady Cundick laughed as he admitted to eating one, the proof in the chocolate and a few sprinkles left around his lips.
"I like to come here with my family because I like watching the parade with them," the 8-year-old said.
"I really like coming here because we have this really cool seating place and so we can see the whole float thing," 12-year-old Jocelyn added.
When Vee Butterfield was 10, he remembers his dad would make the same special seating — two ladders with a board resting between the two and an old quilt thrown over it. That was more than 60 years ago. Back then, the parade went down Main Street and his family would set up shop across from the old post office, now the federal building.
"When I got married we started doing it," he said. "And we've been doing it ever since then. Now my kids are taking over the tradition."
Vee's daughters said they came to the parade mostly to take part in their family tradition.
"We've always done it," Shelley Cundick said. "It's what we do, every 24th of our whole life."
Stacey Mollinet said they always have great seats without having to sleep out on the street. "This is a big tradition for our family," she said. "It's probably the most consistent (family tradition)."
The family was among about 275,000 parade goers, according to Jodene Smith, Days of '47 parade co-chairwoman. She said the parade has grown and this year they had entries from St. George, Idaho and Oklahoma.
"It's not just a Salt Lake Valley parade anymore, it's really the whole state," she said. "It's been really nice to see our little parade that people enjoy and that they come to every year."
This year's parade also featured a little romance. As the Salt Lake police motorcycle squad approached the area of 200 South and 200 East, officer Colton Lambert got off his motorcycle and proposed to his girlfriend — now fiancé — Kelly McArthur in the middle of the street.
"It was so surprising," she said. "That kiss was all mustache, though."
Lambert said the fake mustache he was wearing is a time-honored accessory for the motorcycle officers during the parade.
McArthur said she knew the proposal was coming because Lambert asked her father for permission, but she didn't think it would happen during the actual parade.
"Nervous was an understatement," Lambert said. "As I approached the intersection, I just knew I had to get it done so I did it."
For the rest of the parade, the officer said he couldn't stop smiling.
"It was a big smile, but the mustache was covering it," he said.
While some families have attended the parade for decades, one family witnessed the event for the first time Wednesday. Lori McClellan brought a blow-up mattress and spent the night on the side of the road with her 16-year-old daughter, Jessie.
"I wouldn't call it sleeping" McClellan said. "I was too excited to miss out on any of the fun. I slept for about 40 minutes."
She ran in the Deseret News Classic 10K before the parade, and figured she might as well camp on the street the night before so she'd have a front row seat. Seeing the creative float designs, the people who are on TV, politicians and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "up close was worth it."
Of the 108 parade entries, several of floats won awards. The Sweepstakes Award and the People's Choice Award went to the Salt Lake Olympus Stake's float and the Children's Choice Award went to the float created by the Centerville South Stake.
The West Jordan River Stake's float won the Legacy Award, the Salt Lake Riverside Stake won the Theme Award, the BYU float won the Queen's Award, Bountiful North Stake's float won the Outstanding Animation Award, and the Salt Lake Granger South Stake float won the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Award.
Other awards were given to Murray City float, which won the Brigham Young Award, West Valley City's float won the Hilda Erickson Award, Salt Lake East Millcreek Stake's float received the Utah Award, and the Riverton Stake's float won the Spirit of the Faith Award.
The Polynesian Cultural Center's float won the President's Award, Sandy Cottonwood Creek Stake's float won the Sons of the Utah Pioneer Award, the Chinese Society of Utah won the Mayor's Award, the Ensign Award went to the Midvale City's float, the Wal-Mart float won the Community Award, Herriman City's float won the Governor Award.
More Pioneer Day coverage: