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Celebrate Pioneer Day in Salt Lake City

Friday July 5, 2013


Pioneer Day is one of Utah's biggest holidays. Many people think that it's the day Utah became a state, but that happened on January 4, 1896. Pioneer Day, July 24, is the day in 1847 when Brigham Young and a group of pioneers reached the Great Salt Lake Valley after Young declared "This is the right place!"

Below are a few events and ways that you can celebrate Pioneer Day this year:

Days of 47 Rodeo
July 19, 20, 22, 23 and 24, can catch the Days of 47 Rodeo at the Energy Solutions Arena. Highlights include a single adult date night, Lonestar in concert, Family Night with the Governor, Military Night and a Pioneer Night. The Days of 47 Rodeo is the oldest rodeo in Utah. You can expect to see bareback and saddle bronc riding, bull riding, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling and tie-down roping. Barrel/rodeo clown Keith Isley will be there to protect the riders. Isley is world-famous for his amazing antics and world-famous comedy.

Pioneer Day Commemoration Concert
The world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra will perform a concert for those eight years and older on July 19 and 29. The concert is free, but tickets are required. Visit http://www.daysof47.com/events/pioneer-day-commemoration-concert/ for details on obtaining tickets.

First Encampment Hike
This family-friendly hike on July 20 will commemorate the Pioneer's first campsite in the Great Salt Lake Valley. Meet at 7 a.m. at Donner Park, 2770 East and 990 South, east of Hogle Zoo. Along the way you will see points of interest to the early Pioneers, and learn about the food they ate and the games they played. To register for the First Encampment Hike or for more information contact: Wayne Howcroft at 801.463.1045 or Kathi Izatt, 801.257.7959, kathihizatt@gmail.com

Days of 47 Youth Parade and Family Festival
On Saturday July 20, gather the entire family and head to downtown Salt Lake City for the Youth Parade. Route starts at 600 East and 500 South, runs west on 500 South to 200 East and ends at the City and County Building (Washington Square), 200 East and 500 South in Salt Lake City. Stay after the parade and enjoy free admission to the Family Festival at the end of the parade route.

Youth Pioneer Pageant
Utah Pioneer Days in West Jordan will be July 22-24. The highlight of the celebration is the Youth Pioneer Pageant. The festivities will benefit the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund.

Days of 47 Float Preview Party
This is the event that my kids look forward to all year long! A free event held at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, attendees can view the Pioneer Day Parade floats up close, and meet the people that built the floats. Children and adults can vote for their favorite float, then watch the parade on the 24th to see if the float you voted for received an award.

Deseret News Marathon
First run in 1970, this race is the oldest race in Utah and the oldest marathon west of the continental divide. The marathon is run on Pioneer Day every year, and follows the path the pioneers took as they came into the valley. Choose the marathon, half marathon, 10K or 5K.

Sunrise Service
Beginning at 7 a.m. on Pioneer Day in the Tabernacle on Temple Square, join The Pioneer Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers for a special program honoring the pioneers that sacrificed so much to come to the Great Salt Lake Valley. This is a free event, and no tickets are required.

Days of 47 Parade
The biggest parade of the year in Utah begins at 9 a.m. on Pioneer Day. Route starts at South Temple and State Street running east to 200 East, turns south to 900 South, then turns east to Liberty Park at 600 East in Salt Lake City. Because this is such a big event, many families camp out on the streets beginning the night before to get the best spot for viewing the parade.


More ideas to celebrate Pioneer Day:

Salt Lake City Cemetery Tour
Take a self-guided tour of the Salt Lake City Cemetery and visit the graves of many of the early Utah pioneers. You can also visit the graves of Brigham Young and other prominent Utah pioneers closer to downtown.

Pioneer Days at This Is The Place Heritage Park 
Play pioneer games, eat pioneer food, and learn what it was like to live as an early Utah pioneer. What better place to celebrate than at the place honoring Brigham Young proclaiming the Great Salt Lake Valley as "This Is The Place!"

Historic Scavenger Hunt at Gardner Village
Learn all about the history of Utah and Salt Lake, and the early pioneers, by taking this historic scavenger hunt at Gardner Village. Download the scavenger hunt on the Gardner Village website. Runs through the month of July.

Salt Lake Bees Baseball
Join the Bees baseball team for a game on Pioneer Day.

Hike Ensign Peak
A family-friendly hike, Ensign Peak is the place where Brigham Young and other pioneers hiked up to overview the valley and plan the city.

LDS Church History Museum
Learn about the early pioneers at the LDS Church History Museum

Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum 
Many early pioneer artifacts can be seen at this museum. Explore multiple floors of artifacts and other interesting items relating to the Utah Pioneers.

East Canyon / Big Mountain Overlook / Mormon Trail Hike
Travel up East Canyon and stand in the spot that Brigham Young declared "This Is The Right Place". From there, take an easy hike along the original Mormon Trail.

Pioneer History Walking Tour
Take a self-guided walking tour of pioneer history sites.