Pioneer Day (and its heathen spinoff, Pie & Beer Day) is a uniquely Utah holiday celebrated on July 24th of each year to celebrate the arrival of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake valley. Of course, even the most visionary of pioneers couldn’t imagine their commemorative holiday would be interrupted with a pandemic in 2020, but they certainly would have wanted people to celebrate as much as they safely could. So we’ve gathered a few fun activities that are still happening.
We know Salt Lake citizens are deeply committed to this local holiday and will find their own ways to make it a blast with driveway fireworks (here’s the rules), socially distanced picnics, and hopefully a whole lot of pie.
This is the Place Heritage Park
This historic park marks the spot where, according to local legend, Brigham Young first spied the Salt Lake Valley and declared this was where the pioneers would be putting down roots. Today, it’s a delightful family-friendly homage to all things pioneer, with lots of activities for kids. Alas, the usual elaborate Pioneer Day festivities here have been postponed for the year, but the park will still be open, and visitors are welcome to come enjoy all the experiences and activities that are still available. This includes panning for gold, historic cabins and buildings, Brigham’s Donuts, and the rock shop. Purchase tickets online ahead of time to secure a spot!
FatCats Pie & Beer Day
FatCats, an arcade and bowling alley in Millcreek, is hosting a Pie & Beer Day Carnival on the 24th with a special $15 entry that includes a game of bowling, a credit at the arcade, and carnival tickets you can redeem for games and treats. Pie is not only available, but there’s a pie-eating contest at the end of the day! Snag your ticket online ahead of time, and remember to bring a mask (which is required) and keep those hands clean by using the available sanitation stations!
Days of ‘47 KUTV Virtual Pops Concert
While the Days of ‘47 celebrations typically include all manner of festivities, such as the annual Pioneer Day parade downtown, organizers found a way to preserve and digitize one beloved part of the tradition: the annual Pops Concert, usually held in Abravanel Hall, will be broadcast online. It took an exceptional amount of effort to coordinate and record the virtual concert, with over 100 musicians recording their segments and synthesizing them. The resulting 30-minute online concert is deeply moving. It’s available to watch now, or over family dinner on the 24th.
Enjoy the outdoor spaces and activities that make this city great
While the typical bevy of fireworks shows won’t be going this year, the 24th of July is still a great time to celebrate all the outdoor spaces and attractions that make this city’s founding well worth celebrating. Take advantage of the many city parks (and even consider exploring new ones!), hit the trails for some fresh air, make new feathered friends at the Tracy Aviary, or ramble around the Hogle Zoo. Whether you’re celebrating Pioneer Day or Pie & Beer (or both), this is the perfect time for a socially distanced picnic.