Parade highlights temple construction

Commencing almost at the gate of the Salt Lake Temple, the annual Days of '47 Parade featured several entries pertaining to the temple's centennial this year.

"It's kind of fun being right here where you can see the temple and see these wonderful floats depicting [the work of] the Saints," commented announcer Ned Winder from the sound truck at the parade's genesis in front of the Brigham Young Monument at Main Street and 100 South.Riding near the front of the parade in a blue convertible were President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Marjorie. He wore a felt, western-type hat.

Winner of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Award, the Taylorsville 25th Ward, Taylorsville Utah West Stake float had a temple theme. It commemorated an occasion on April 4, 1873, when the Wasatch and Jordan Valley Railroad began transporting granite block from the canyon to the city of Sandy below to hasten the temple's construction. On the float was a model of the narrow-gauge engine that hauled the stone, perched on a trestle above simulated granite blocks.

The Taylorsville Utah South Stake float depicted the temple capstone and Angel Moroni statue being lowered into place, with a person representing Wilford Woodruff presiding over the ceremony.

The temple was not the only Church theme spotlighted in the parade. The Riverton 2nd Ward, Riverton Utah Summerhill Stake, commemorated the establishment in the 1890s of a tithing yard on the brow of a hill overlooking the Jordan River. It served as a collection point for donations of livestock, produce, grain and hay for Church members in the southern half of the Salt Lake Valley until 1913. The float won the Brigham Young Award.

A unique theme was conveyed in a float entered by an educational organization called Latter-day Saints for Cultural Awareness. Winner of the Historic Sweepstakes Award, it featured African American people representing Elijah Abel, an early convert to the Church; Green Flake, who drove Brigham Young's wagon into the Salt Lake Valley; and Jane Elizabeth Manning, a pioneer who walked barefooted across the plains to the valley.

Although it did not focus on a Church theme, the Salt Lake Monument Park Stake float was good enough to garner the Outstanding Animation Award. It honored the role of women during World War II featuring a large blue airplane with rotating propellers being worked on by women clad in bright-orange satin coveralls representing "Rosie the Riveter."

World War II and/or nostalgia figured in other parade entries. The royalty float near the beginning of the parade featured not only the current queen and her attendants, Elizabeth Buehler, Jennifer Marchbanks and Nicole Jensen, but also the Days of '47 royalty from 1943. That year, no parade was held due to war-time gasoline rationing. However, then-Gov. Herbert Maw crowned the royalty on the steps of the Utah State Capitol at a coronation featuring the Tabernacle Choir. At last the queen, Pat Pixton Barker; her two attendants, Marva Collett Workman and Cleone Pixton Parker; and the princess, Marilyn Cullimore Smith, from that year's celebration had the chance to ride in a parade.

This year's festivities were almost dampened also, not by gasoline rationing but by unseasonably inclement weather. Showers saturated the valley the day before, and clouds continued to obscure the summer sky when the parade began at 9 a.m. It looked more like a day in March, as thousands of spectators along the parade route donned colorful jackets and windbreakers. But by 10:30, the cloud cover dissipated, allowing the sun to warm the revelers during the last half-hour of the parade.

About 130 entries traversed the route nine blocks south and six blocks east to Liberty Park.

In addition to LDS entries, scores of floats, marching bands, horse teams, antique cars, horse-drawn wagons and clowns were provided by businesses, civic organizations and other religious groups. The Pentecostal Faith Temple Church of Salt Lake City, for example, supplied a float featuring a band and 40-voice choir that entertained spectators with gospel music.

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