Pioneer Day and beyond: Fun and affordable activities to try this summer


Summer events across Utah that range from concerts to pageants to keep residents entertained. In July, it is not uncommon for the majority of events to be centered around Pioneer Day. But there are other events not related to Pioneer Day too.

Float Preview Party July 18-19: The float preview party is a must-see for those with small children that have a harder time with long parades. This is a chance for visitors to see the floats without going to the parade. Visitors meet the creators and technicians behind the floats and can also vote on their favorite float.

The float preview party will take place at the South Towne Expo Center on July 18 and 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Guests can take photos with the Days of ’47 Royalty from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. More information can be found here.

Ari Davis
After a complication in his first run Tuf Cooper, one of the youngest competiors from Decatur, Texas goes again and ends up winning the Tie Down Roping event by a tenth of a second in the 2014 Pioneer Days Rodeo in Odgen. (Ari Davis)

Days of ’47 Rodeo July 19-23: According to the event page and website, this is the oldest rodeo in Utah and one of the top rodeos in the nation. The cowboys and cowgirls will compete for a $411,000 prize. Featured events include bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling and tie-down roping.

The Days of ’47 Komatsu Equipment Rodeo will take place at the Vivint Smart Home Arena from July 19-23 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be bought here starting at $10. Those who buy tickets can use the UTA TRAX, FrontRunner, and bus for free on the date printed.

Youth Parade July 23: The Days of ’47 holds one of the largest youth parades in the United States. This event is July 23 at 10 a.m. This parade features creative floats, a marching band and performing groups to celebrate Pioneer Day weekend. The best floats will be featured in the “big parade” on July 25.

Family Festival July 23: The tenth annual Family Festival will follow the Youth Parade. The festival is located at the end of the parade route where there will be free games and activities, along with pioneer-styled attractions.

Features include inflatable slides, bouncers, obstacle courses and pioneer-related learning activities. Snacks and frozen treats will be provided at minimal cost. More details can be found on its website.

First Encampment Hike July 23: This family-oriented event will take hikers back in time to when pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley for the first time. The commemorative trek will begin 7 a.m. on July 23 at Donner Park. The route takes hikers through the historical neighborhoods in Salt Lake City.

American flags and pioneer clothing are optional. At the end of the trail, hikers can eat a traditional pioneer breakfast of buckwheat pancakes and old-fashioned bacon for $3 per plate.

Dixie Celebration Parade July 23: The Dixie Celebration Parade, in Washington Utah, is Southern Utah’s annual Pioneer Day celebration. The day begins with a flag raising ceremony at 7 a.m. followed by a breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The parade will begin at 9 a.m. Activities will begin at 10 a.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Park and in Willard O. Nisson Park. Fireworks will take place at 9:30 p.m. near the Community Center at 200 North 300 East.

More information can be found here.

Sunrise Service July 25: The Salt Lake Pioneer Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers will be hosting this free event. The Sunrise Service begins at 7 a.m. on July 25th at the Tabernacle in Temple Square.

The program will include music from the Salt Lake City Institute combined choirs and a talk by Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Sunrise Service will take place prior to the Pioneer Day Parade.

Days of ’47 Parade July 25: The Days of ’47 Parade is a parade that honors Pioneer Day. Families can be found camping at their parade spots at least a day before the parade begins. The parade starts on State Street and South Temple. Read more about it here.

Castle Valley Pageant July 28–30, Aug 2–6: This pageant is a historical drama that takes place outdoors and portrays pioneers settling on the frontier. The Castle Valley Pageant also has a Pioneer Village where visitors can learn about the crafts that pioneers made to survive in the frontier. The pageant takes place between July 28-30 and Aug 2-6. More information can be found on their website and on Facebook.

Temple Square and Church History Museum Events: 

Concerts in the Park: These free, informal concerts are held at Brigham Young Historic Park in Salt Lake City. Each concert is held on Tuesday and Friday evenings from June 3 to August 26. A list of concerts can be found here.

Evenings at the Museum July 21: The Church History Museum hosts Evenings at the Museum every year. As part of the Legacy Series, musical artist Clive Romney will talk about how art makes ancestral stories memorable. The Legacy Series is about pioneering stories through the arts. More information can be found on the event page.

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus Exhibit (open until Aug. 13, 2016): The Church History Museum is featuring a series of paintings centralized around the Sunday School curriculum theme “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.” As part of the 10th International Art Competition, this exhibit features artwork from more than 40 countries. The exhibit is unique because the art shows the Savior’s mortal ministry on earth while artists shared their experiences in drawing near to Christ through their artwork.

Online Events:

Worldwide Indexing Event July 15-17: is sponsoring the Worldwide Indexing Event from July 15-17. Indexing is the process of entering information from scanned historical documents into a database. The documents make it easier for people around the world to search for family names online.

FamilySearch is encouraging everyone regardless of experience to participate in this event. The goal of this event is to have at least 72,000 volunteers index as many records as they can within the 72-hour period. Volunteers fluent in French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish are especially needed for this event because it will help make more records available for non-English speaking countries.

2016 Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra on Temple Square Pioneer Day Concert July 23: Even though tickets are sold out, all members and friends of the Church are invited to participate in the live stream of the Pioneer Day Commemoration concert. The theme is “Music for a Summer Evening” and will feature the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, with guests The King’s Singers. The concert will be broadcast on the church satellite system and on the internet Saturday, July 23. 

Streaming information can be found here.

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