Salt Lake's procession bids the world welcome to Brigham Young's Zion

Proclaiming the message "The World Is Welcome Here," Utahns observed a tradition dating back to Brigham Young with the annual Days of '47 parade.

President Howard W. Hunter, as grand marshal, rode at the head of the parade in the back seat of an automobile with his wife, Sister Inis Hunter. Thousands of spectators lining the mile-and-a-half parade route clapped and cheered for the prophet.The sky was sunny during the two-hour event, with a moderate temperature for late July, about 78 degrees.

The parade theme, an allusion to Utah's bid for the international Olympic winter games in the year 2002, was reflected in scores of floats, many of them created by Church units in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas.

For example, the Kearns Utah West Stake entry featured one child dressed as a hockey player, another as a speed skater and a third as a figure skater, each encircled vertically by a ring. The five Olympic rings were shown on the back. The float referred to the Olympic speed-skating oval being built in the community. Walking with the float were youth carrying flags of many nations.

Other entries lent a gospel perspective to the parade theme. The Salt Lake Stake float featured a gold depiction of Ensign Peak, the conical hill north of Salt Lake City where Brigham Young and others surveyed the valley and figuratively raised an "ensign to the nations" to come unto Zion. The float theme was an alteration of the parade theme: "Welcome, the world is here." Flags of all nations were featured, with many people walking beside the float in national costumes.

Winning the Brigham Young Award was the West Jordan Utah Stake with a float that depicted the Savior, His arms out in an embrace, with people in costumes from all walks of life facing Him. "In the Arms of His Love" was the float theme.

The Sandy Willowcreek Stake, with the theme "Welcoming Tomorrow's Pioneers" represented the Eagle Gate - a Salt Lake landmark near Brigham Young's downtown home - under which rode children in costumes of many cultures.

"Tabernacle - Host to the World," depicted the historic Temple Square structure with an allusion to the people of many nationalities who have met in it. The float was entered by the Jordan North Stake.

In addition to floats, other LDS-oriented entries included handcarts pulled by members of the Sons of Utah Pioneers and a marching band made up of alumni from Liahona High School, a Church institution in Tonga.

Clowns, a juggler and a fiddler on unicycles and a stilt-walking team from Keelung, Taiwan, sister city to Salt Lake City, were among unusual parade entries.

The annual parade is the centerpiece of the city's Days of '47 celebration which marks the coming of Brigham Young and the pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.

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