Utah’s Pioneer Day features something for everyone

Horses pull a traditional covered wagon through the Dixie Celebration. The celebration occurs each year on the morning of Pioneer Day to celebrate Utah’s pioneer heritage. (Rick Neilson)

Thousands of Utah residents will attend various Pioneer Day celebrations on July 24, which will include running, pie eating contests, and cultural performances.

Pioneer Day is a unique holiday to the state of Utah and commemorates the day Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.

Some of the celebratory events that will be held in Provo on Tuesday include the Temple to Temple Run and the Pioneer Day Extravaganza.

The 6th annual Temple to Temple 5K Run will take place at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 24. The starting line is at the Provo Temple and takes runners past BYU Campus before ending at the Provo City Center Temple.

“Our whole purpose is for individuals and families on Pioneer Day to understand the benefit that temples can play in our and our ancestors’ lives,” said Eric Speckhard, co-founder of the Temple to Temple Run.

All participants are encouraged to run or walk on behalf of an ancestor. Attendees are encouraged to write the ancestor’s name on their shirt or carry a family picture across the finish line. Some participants have even dressed up as pioneers in previous years for the race.

Registration is free, but T-shirts and race chips are available for an additional cost.

The Pioneer Day Extravaganza will also be hosted by Provo Parks and Recreation. This celebration will be held in Provo’s North Park (500 North 500 West) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees can enjoy games, crafts, live entertainment, face painting, a petting zoo and pie eating contests.

A Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City will also be held at 9 a.m. on July 24. It is one of the oldest of its kind in the United States and will start at State Street and South Temple.

Parade attendees will see vibrant colored floats, horses, bands and other performances.

Families can camp out on the street the evening before to save a spot with a great view of the parade, according to the Days of ’47 website.

Some of the other events in Salt Lake City on July 24 include the Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square and the Deseret News Marathon.

The Pioneer Days Celebration at This Is The Place Heritage Park is another popular Pioneer Day attraction in the greater Salt Lake Area.

“Our guests can come and experience a day in the life of a pioneer and have fun while doing it,” said Tate Harris, creative arts and events manager at This Is The Place Heritage Park.

Throughout the day guests can experience candy cannons shooting out old-fashioned taffy, Native American dances, and panning for gold. A parade will also take place at noon and 3 p.m. Entry is $12.95 for adults, $10.95 for seniors older than 65, $8.95 for children ages three to 11, and free for children ages two and under. Activities will take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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