2018 Days of ’47 Parade Entries Embody “Pioneer Stories: Foundations for the Future” Theme

Contributed By Savannah Hopkinson, Church News staff writer

  • 25 July 2018

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, rides in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Adam Buhl and his family are no strangers to the Days of ’47 Parade.

Each year he and his wife stake out a prime viewing spot, dress up the kids in pioneer outfits, and celebrate the arrival of Brigham Young and the first group of pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.

“We come out here every year religiously,” Buhl said. “It’s fun to teach [the children] about pioneers and what they did. They get to be pioneers for a day.”

The theme “Pioneer Stories: Foundations for the Future” served as the inspiration for this year’s annual parade in downtown Salt Lake City on Pioneer Day, July 24.

Dozens of Latter-day Saint stakes from around Utah, including the Cottonwood, South Jordan, Hunter Central, Sandy Cottonwood Creek, and Farmington West Stakes, created floats interpreting the theme. Displays included a futuristic, space-themed take and a float displaying a pioneer reading stories to children, honoring the “culture, strength, and fortitude” early Utah settlers created for later generations.

Alyih Young, 6, leans past the line in the street to get a look at the horses passing during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

A boy holds an American flag as he walks under the Follow the Flag, the largest free-flying American flag in the world, during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, represented the Church and waved happily to the crowds near the beginning of the parade from the seat of a white Ford Mustang convertible.

Other state officials, including Utah Governor Gary Herbert, also greeted crowds as the parade continued.

Buhl’s family always looks forward to the displays from the Salt Lake Police Motor Squad, while 6-year-old Olivia Buhl particularly enjoys seeing the “princesses,” or city royalties.

The Days of ’47 royalties and several other city royalties represented different parts of the state. Floats were also present from Utah universities, including the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, both founded by Brigham Young.

The celebration of the Utah pioneers was evident throughout the procession. Floats featured men and women in pioneer outfits and performances of popular hymns and children’s songs about pioneers, such as “Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked.”

Other notes of pioneer and Church history were echoed in the parade through the representation of the Sons of Utah Pioneers and a group of men representing the Mormon Battalion.

Milo Peterson cheers at the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Kurtis Edelman and his Scout troop from Corinne, Utah, marched in the re-creation of the Mormon Battalion. Edelman said it’s important to recognize the sacrifice that those men and women made and to remember the sacrifices that are made today to keep that spirit alive.

“It’s important to remember our history and how privileged we are right now,” Kellen Golightly, a 17-year-old Scout who marched with Edelman, said.

The Scouts were dressed the part, with long sleeves, vests, and full-length pants. Wearing all that clothing and walking five miles in the summer heat made 13-year-old Turner Edelman appreciate the hard work it was for those early members crossing the country.

The Murray Utah North Stake wins the Outstanding Animation Award in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Other memorable parts of the parade included a display of vintage cars, performances from several marching bands, and a float from the city of Cottonwood Heights that featured a working snow machine, adding a small taste of winter in the middle of a day that reached over 90 degrees.

Deborah Hoffa and her family arrived early in the morning to support family members participating in the marathon preceding the parade. Although she has only lived in the state for the last eight to 10 years, Hoffa recognizes the importance of remembering the pioneers, even 171 years after their arrival.

“They paved the way for a lot of us,” she said. “Regardless if it was the LDS pioneers or the people who came out this way just trying to make a better life for themselves, they’re the examples and they’re the reason why we make it where we are.”

For Buhl, whose great-grandmother was one of the pioneers who pulled a handcart into the valley, the day is about more than just fun and celebration. It’s about remembering the dedication and faith of those early members who laid the foundations of what Utah is now.

“If we don’t do this and remember, then we’ll forget,” he said.

People carry Follow the Flag, the world’s largest free-flying American flag, in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Nelly Barrera dances with other Ballet Folkl’orico dancers in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Peyton Featherstone and Tess VanBibber watch the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

The Woods Cross North Stake float wins the People’s Choice Award in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Jeanette Herbert, First Lady of Utah, and Utah Governor Gary Herbert ride in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

The Bountiful Val Verda Stake float wins the Hilda Erickson Award in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Alex Saville, center, and others with Utah Healing Field wave American flags the during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

Jack Thomas (9), front, Henry Thomas (12), left, and Ethan Thomas (17) ride with an entry sponsored by the Sons of Utah Pioneers in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

The BYU “Foundations for Our Future” float passes during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

Civil Air Patrol Utah Wing cadets march the colors in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

Army Sgt. Ben Winn helps carry Follow the Flag, the largest free-flying American flag in the world, during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

Spectators stand for the passing of Utah Healing Field’s American flags during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

KSL’s float passes during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

The Sil Lum Kung Fu Kwoon lion head dancers perform during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

Joshua Born plays clarinet in the Viewmont Viking Band during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

Dawn Dodson, left, Shanon Penman, and Jenna Dodson walk with the Bountiful Val Verda Stake’s float, which won the Hilda Erickson Award in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

The Woods Cross North Stake’s float won the People’s Choice Award in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

Juan Cruz, right, Enrique Ortega, Christopher Ortega (7), and Ariel Ortega (10) dance as a float playing music passes in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

Jan Eye walks with the West Jordan Mountain Shadows Stake float, which won the Spirit of Faith Award, during the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.

The Sunset Ridge Stake’s float won the Utah Award in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.