Thousands of Youth Participate in Days of ’47 Youth Parade

Contributed By Noelle Baldwin, Church News contributor

  • 28 July 2016

People dress as pioneers in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016.  Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Over 5,000 children from 18 stakes participated in the Union Pacific Youth Parade.
  • The floats reflected the theme “Pioneers—Inspiring Today’s Generation!”

Over 5,000 children gathered on July 23 for the annual Union Pacific Youth Parade as part of the Days of ’47 celebration. Eighteen stakes from around the state were invited to participate in one of the largest youth parades in the nation. This year’s theme, “Pioneers—Inspiring Today’s Generation!” helped participants reflect on the pioneers’ sacrifice and how it has inspired them.

Jim Williams, one of the youth parade cochairs, said, “It’s really neat to watch [how the parade] brings people together.”

Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, waved to crowds as they rode in a car in the parade.

Mercedes Grover, who participated in the parade with her family as part of the Sandy Utah Lone Peak Stake, said it was fun to get together every Saturday to work on the float. “It was fun to get together and paint,” she said. Her brother, Christian Grover, also thought it was fun to get to know other members of their stake and their Primary presidency. Their stake used a unique way to remember their pioneer ancestors while they walked the parade route. Christian said each child in his stake wore a bracelet with an ancestor’s name written on the inside.

The Sandy Utah Lone Peak Stake used a Lego-themed float to show how everything they have is built on the foundation that the pioneers created. Joe and Melanie Grover, who were in charge of the float, said that they wanted to show how the pioneers provided families, testimonies, and temples, making it possible to build on a strong foundation.

“We tend to think of pioneers as adults, when in reality there were a lot of children. So it’s good that these kids realize that the children actually had to walk,” said Jodene Smith, a youth parade cochair. “This year we are doing something quite neat” to remember the pioneers. “The LDS Church has provided 1,000 names of children who passed away coming west.” Children who participated with their stakes had a name tag with the name of a child who never made it to the Salt Lake Valley. At the end of the parade they placed the name tags on a “memory banner,” Sister Smith said.

Susan Gottfredson of the Park 3rd Ward, West Jordan Utah Park Stake, said that before building their float, “we asked [ourselves] ‘Where did it start?’” As a stake they decided that the freedom to have the scriptures was one of the reasons the pioneers came out west, and thanks to their sacrifice millions today can freely read their scriptures on their computers, phones, and iPads. Sister Gottfredson said that they wanted to show “the progression from scrolls to [the] screens” of personal devices.

Their float, which was followed by 200 members of their stake, showed a scroll supporting paper and digital copies of the scriptures. It also won the Theme Award for the best display of this year’s theme and will be the only float from the youth parade to appear in the Days of ’47 Parade on Monday, July 25.

Members of the West Jordan Utah Park Stake smile in front of their float, which won the Theme Award. Photo by Noelle Baldwin.

Sammy Aguero, 7, marches in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A large American flag is carried in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Cambria Pettey, 3, rides in a covered wagon in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Peter Luker, 11, walks with members of the Salt Lake Granite Park Stake in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float and people dressed as missionaries take part in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Grace Thompson, Aspen Kimball, and Brooklyn Renfro walk with members of the Sandy Utah Crescent Stake in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Members of the Utah Karen Community march in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Members of the Salt Lake Stake walk in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float from the Utah Karen Community drives in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Members of the West Jordan River Oaks Stake march in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Santa in Summer drives a motorized recliner chair in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float drives in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Salt Lake City police officers ride motorcycles in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A large American flag is carried in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Members of the Sandy Utah Crescent Stake march in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float shows the Salt Lake Temple and other buildings while driving in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

The Stansbury High School Marching Stallions perform in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

The Stansbury High School Marching Stallions perform in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

The Midway Swiss Miss royalty ride a float in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Members of the Salt Lake Granite Park Stake march in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Members of the Salt Lake Wilford Stake walk in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Children walk in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float from the Bountiful Utah Stonecreek Stake drives in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float from the West Jordan Utah Park Stake drives in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Members of the Sandy Utah Lone Peak Stake march in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float drives in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float from the Salt Lake Granger West Stake drives in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Members of the Sandy Utah Central Stake march in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

A float from the Herriman Utah Stake drives in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Joy D. Jones, Primary General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, right, and her Second Counselor, Bonnie H. Cordon, left, ride in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

Joe and Melanie Grover stand in front of their float with their children—Christian, Mercedes, Lincoln, London, Sterling, and Chanel—and Mallory Murphy. Photo by Noelle Baldwin.