Fun at the Days of ’47 Pioneer Day Parade

Float at the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Pioneer Day

Float at the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Pioneer Day

Coming up next month on July 24 is a Utah state holiday, Pioneer Day, celebrating the coming of the pioneers into Utah and the surrounding area.  It officially marks the day the first Mormons arrived in the Salt Valley, but it is also a celebration of the Utah pioneers in general and the state’s history.

 


 

Pulling a handcart like the early pioneers in the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City, Utah

Pulling a handcart like the early pioneers

Last year, on Pioneer Day, we were driving through Utah (unknowing of the holiday) without a spare tire, the other having blown out somewhere in the cornfields of Iowa.  But we knew there were Big O tire shops in Salt Lake City, and the last Big O tires we got in Arizona had lasted so well, it was worth driving past all the Walmart tire centers (which don’t carry our tire size anyway) to find a Big O.

Skiing Bear on a float in the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City, Utah

Skiing Bear

So we roared into a little shop on a street corner somewhere in downtown Salt Lake City and asked them if they had our tire in stock.  They did; they were only working half a day because of the state holiday, but they would be happy to install the tire for us.

A theater advertising its shows in the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

A theater advertising its shows

And while we waited, why didn’t we walk the two blocks down to see the Days of ‘47 Parade – it’s the 2nd largest (or is it the 3rd largest?) in the country.

University crowd float at the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

University crowd

Well, seeing a parade is a whole lot more exciting than sitting in the front room of a tire shop, especially when you can’t get their customer wifi to work.  So we set off the four or five blocks to the parade route.

Utah Pipe Band in the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah Pipe Band

There were already people everywhere, lined up, some of them having saved their spot overnight.

A 1928 Model A in the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City, Utah

A 1928 Model A

We took a seat just down the street from a corner of the parade route (just east of 200 East St. and 900 South St.) under a shady tree.  I eventually got out on the pavement so I could take some pictures of the floats.

Roadtrip float in the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

Roadtrip float

Because of the sun’s position, the pictures themselves would have been better from the other side of the street – but the locals had already filled that up pretty well, and there wasn’t as much shade on that side for the rest of my group.

Motorboat at

Motorboat at “Hole int he Rock”

Vintage fire engine in the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

Vintage fire engine

The parade began with a police motorcade, then hand-drawn carts and people in period costume reenacting the pioneers.  That was fun.

Police motorcade before the Days of '47 Parade 2016, Salt Lake City, Utah

Police motorcade

The Days of '47 Parade 2016 begins! Salt Lake City, Utah

The parade begins!

Fife and Drums at the beginning of the Pioneer Day celebration's Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City, Utah

Fife and Drums

Then came an assortment of marching bands (unfortunately, the place we were at seemed to be where most of the bands were between numbers), more motorcades, and fancy cars with many of the leaders of Utah (including the governor and congressmen/congresswomen!) and the Mormon church.

Local high school marching band in the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

Local high school marching band

The Governor of Utah in the Pioneer Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City

The Governor of Utah!

Kneeling right next to the parade route, some of those police officers got pretty close!

A police officer doing formation tricks in the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

A police officer doing formation tricks

There were horse displays, trick riding, and plenty of vintage cars and tractors (each with their make and year).

Trick riding in the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

Trick riding

Vintage cars in the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

Vintage cars

More marching bands, army trucks, and the clowns came out.  A few were dressed like aliens – I got to shake hands with a certified alien from outer space (lol)!

Aliens in the Days of '47 Parade 2016, Salt Lake City, Utah

Aliens!

Another marching band in the Days of '47 Parade 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah

Another marching band

Then there were the floats – one after another after another!  Most were quite clever; time and energy had been put into those floats.

A duck promoting literacy in the Days of '47 Parade 2016, Salt Lake City, Utah

A duck promoting literacy?

Undersea theme float in the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

Undersea theme

Inspiring Pioneers is the theme of the Days of '47 Parade, Salt Lake City, Utah

Inspiring Pioneers is the theme of the Days of ’47 Parade

My favorite – not in pictures, but in being there – was knights in a castle.

“Traits of a Knight” float

Overall, I think the parade lasted a couple hours.  It certainly seemed to go on just about forever, float after float after float!

Miss Tooele County float in the Days of '47 parade 2016, Salt Lake City, Utah

Miss Tooele County

And while we're at it, the Rodeo Queen in the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City, Utah

And while we’re at it, the Rodeo Queen!

So if you happen to be in in Salt Lake City on July 24, check out the Days of ’47 Parade!  It’s worth seeing, a bit fun, and great to see all the creativity that goes into the floats (not to mention celebrate history and determination of the pioneers)!

1950 Farmall tractor in the Pioneer Day celebration's Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City, Utah

1950 Farmall tractor

Interest ★★★★★

Exhibits ★★★★★

Personnel ★★★★☆

Cleanliness ★★★★☆

Ease of Access ★★★☆☆

Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this? ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Musical-themed float in the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City, Utah

Musical-themed float

Getting to the Days of ’47 Parade Route

We hung out right about 40.749827, -111.884970 (40° 44′ 59.3772″ / -111° 53′ 5.8914″).  Parking could be a major issue; we were parked at the tire shop so that was no trouble for us.  To get to the general area, your best bet is probably to take I-80 to Exit 123 (just east of the I-80 / I-15 interchange) and head north on US-89 (State Street) and try to find a place to park around 900 South St.  You can then walk to the parade route.  Of course, if you want to be elsewhere along the parade route, you can always go another way…

Horses ride the parade route in formation in the Days of '47 Parade 2016, Salt Lake City, Utah

Horses ride the parade route in formation

This Week’s Featured Product!

This book chronicles the experiences of real children in wagon trains and handcart companies that traveled to Utah in the late 1800s.

 

I Walked to Zion: True Stories of Young Pioneers on the Mormon Trail (Hardcover)


List Price: $14.95
New From: $7.00 USD In Stock
Used from: $1.35 USD In Stock

 

 

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