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Kelsey Brunner, Deseret News
Lori Farnsworth sits on a float she and her husband, Jason, built for the Days of '47 Parade during a preview event at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy on Monday, July 17, 2017. "I figured if I'm going to built it, then I want to be on it," says Lori.

SANDY — When Lori and Jason Farnsworth were asked by their church leaders to build a large float for the annual Days of '47 Parade, they were terrified, they said, because they had never done anything like that.

The Farmington couple said they attended the parade last year, and at the time wondered how they could build anything like the floats they were seeing.

"How are we supposed to be able to do that?" Lori Farnsworth recalled thinking.

“This is our first year," she said. "Talk about scary.”

But after "a lot of foam, a lot of glitter and a lot of time," the end result was well worth their efforts, Jason Farnsworth said.

"To see it all work, it’s really fun and cool,” he said.

The Farnsworths' float was one of 42 on display Monday morning for a Pioneer Day parade preview at the South Towne Expo Center. The event continues from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assigns congregations from Salt Lake and Davis counties to build floats for the July 24 morning parade. Businesses, colleges and other groups can also build floats for the parade.

Before she began the process of building a float, Lori Farnsworth said she "didn’t even think it was possible for me to do it. This is something I never thought I'd do."

But the Farnsworths' persistence in building the float mirrored their theme, as well as the lives of the pioneers, she said.

They've since spent a year working on the 14-by-26 float, decorating it with various shades of glitter, a swinging pendulum of handcrafted planets, a handmade telescope and a sign that reads: "Pioneer Your Vision."

When the Farnsworths were asked to volunteer, they were given a $3,200 budget and instructions to use one word from the parade's theme: "Visions of a New Horizon."

The Farnsworths said the word "vision" immediately stood out to them, and they chose that as the focus of the float.

"Yes, (the float) is a telescope looking at planets, but really it's whatever you want it to be," Lori Farnsworth said. "If you feel like you can accomplish something, do it.”

Jason Farnsworth said the float was designed to inspire others to envision their own dreams.

“They could decide for themselves,” he said. "They can dream; we just kind of help them get there.”

The Farnsworths both said they believe it's important to remind people to take charge of their own lives — another message they hope to deliver through the float.

“We felt like it was important for people to know that they don’t have to wait around for someone else,” Lori Farnsworth said.

Tacy Rushton, of Magna, said she worked every day except Sundays for several months with six others to build their group's float, which features a small section of black and white, surrounded by an array of colorful streamers, glitter and animal statues.

The group's theme, "Visions Outside the Box," was inspired by the pioneers, who "had to come up with new ideas to make things work," Rushton said. "Thinking outside the box got them here."

Rushton said she also wanted to remind parade attendees that "you can do anything. You just have to think beyond the borders that you’re given.”

Others chose to focus on inclusion and team building.

"We wanted to make an interactive float, so we put all these mirrors on so people can see themselves on the float, so they can be part of the float,” said Jan Boardman, of Bountiful. "Everybody’s included.”

Similarly, Suzie McInnes, of South Jordan, said she plans to have children from several countries — including China, Jamaica and Honduras — sitting atop her float at the parade.

"I felt like I wanted something about being together and lifting each other up,” McInnes said.

The parade preview has been a part of the Days of '47 Parade for 21 years, said Jodene Smith, parade co-chairwoman who has been involved in all of them.

“I really love the fact that the pioneers are remembered each year," Smith said, adding that "everybody on the committee just has a love for the pioneers and what they did and this great state.”