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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There were already people everywhere, lined up, some of them having saved their spot overnight.
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.
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.
The parade began with a police motorcade, then hand-drawn carts and people in period costume reenacting the pioneers. That was fun.
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.
Kneeling right next to the parade route, some of those police officers got pretty close!
There were horse displays, trick riding, and plenty of vintage cars and tractors (each with their make and year).
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)!
Then there were the floats – one after another after another! Most were quite clever; time and energy had been put into those floats.
My favorite – not in pictures, but in being there – was knights in a castle.
Overall, I think the parade lasted a couple hours. It certainly seemed to go on just about forever, float after float after float!
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)!
Ease of Access
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
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…
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.
Fri Nov 17
Rain. High 43F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
Sat Nov 18
Sunny skies. High near 45F. Winds light and variable.
Sun Nov 19
Partly cloudy skies. High around 50F. Winds light and variable.
Mon Nov 20
Chance of Rain
Cloudy in the morning, then off and on rain showers during the afternoon hours. High 51F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Tue Nov 21
Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. High around 55F. Winds light and variable.