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See photos celebrating 175 years of pioneer courage at the Days of ’47 Parade


The 2022 Days of ’47 Parade in downtown Salt Lake City celebrated 175 years of pioneer courage as colorful, musical, vibrant floats made their way past thousands of spectators who lined the streets on a hot Saturday summer morning.

As the parade’s grand marshal, Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham reflected on the historic significance of the event. She said, “It is an honor to represent the many women who have pioneered in Utah. When I think about the contributions these women made to creating homes and a civil society with few resources besides one another, I am humbled.

"Whether their original home was in New England or Europe or Mexico or the Southern states or the Pacific Islands, many of the these pioneering women had to learn a new language as well as learn a new way of making a living in a very different environment than where they came from." 

President Bingham, the first female to serve as grand marshal of the annual parade, recognized women worldwide who are involved in “pioneering efforts who use their talents and hard work to lift” others. She expressed the inspiration she feels when thinking about what the pioneers accomplished with limited resources. She said this encourages her and reminds her that just as the pioneers did, she “can also do hard things.”

The tradition allows locals and visitors to honor the pioneers who settled the Salt Lake Valley and to remember the challenges and triumphs that came with their journey. Behind the exciting atmosphere is significant meaning.

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People walk around the floats on display at the Days of ’47 Float Preview Party inside of the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Monday, July 18, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

The West Jordan Utah Westland Stake incorporated this year’s parade theme of “Pioneer Courage — Live it!” in its float by exhibiting pioneers of old, as well as current heroes, such as a firefighter and a doctor. Ellen Landeen from the stake said, “These are people who have been courageous and pressed forward in the past and in the present times.”

While the float was parked at the Days of '47 Float Preview Party prior to the parade, the stake placed a quilt on display alongside it. Landeen explained that stake and community members signed the quilt with the names of their heroes, “so that their heroes can ride along” in the parade.

The Farmington Utah Farmington Bay Stake put all hands on deck for its float, literally. Individuals of all ages were included, even using Primary children’s hands to create the flowers that adorned the stake’s float. The 2-year-old stake had the help of members of the stake and their friends and neighbors to complete the masterpiece.

Stake President Craig Packer was impressed with what the stake had built and said they used the opportunity to “come together and build unity in the stake” in a bonding experience.

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Ben Demke looks at the names of different countries’ flags as part of a game associated with the South Jordan Utah River Stake’s float at the Days of ’47 Float Preview Party inside of the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Monday, July 18, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

The South Jordan Utah River Ridge Stake focused its float on the idea of coming together, as well, but with a bit of a different spin.

“We wanted to think, ’What would pioneer courage be for us now?” said Colleen Schmidt, a member of the stake.

Schmidt said President Russell M. Nelson’s encouragement to gather Israel inspired the message of the float. She said, “We felt like the gathering continues,” which she said is illustrated with a variety of faces surrounding a globe on the group’s float.

The pioneers left a historic impact, and these floats used unique themes and individual imagination to embody the pioneer spirit that many in the community strive to live by today.

President Bingham said, “Pioneer Day is an opportunity to celebrate and applaud the efforts of those early settlers as well as to be reminded of the success that comes from working in unity.”

To see more photos from the parade, click through the gallery.

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