SALT LAKE CITY Like a circus, a parade brings out the child in people of all ages. And at the annual Days of '47 Parade held in downtown Salt Lake City on July 24, Pioneer Day, the eye of a child was enchanted again and again.
Interspersed among the floats were dignitaries, led by President Gordon B. Hinckley, who, by the scurry of onlookers to see him, was clearly the top attraction of the event. Another dignitary, seated in a Sons of Utah Pioneers covered wagon, was Frank Swallow, "a living son of a Utah pioneer."
Marching bands, vintage autos, a U.S. Army Reserve unit, horse entries, and local personalities were applauded along the parade route.
With the theme "Pioneer Courage, a Beacon to the World," float after float paid tribute to Utah's founders, such as the shimmering foil sails of a ship of the Bennion Utah East Stake, or the cultural entry of giant hats from many nations presented by the South Jordan Utah Country Park Stake. The Salt Lake Hunter Utah West Stake bedecked a river boat, in remembrance of Nauvoo, located on a bend of the Mississippi River, complete with its famous Mississippi River neighbor, Huckleberry Finn, fishing off the bow. Not to be outfloated, its neighbor, the Salt Lake Hunter Utah East Stake, presented a ship complete with a shawled woman waving farewell to her homeland.
Trains chugged noiselessly along the route in honor of the nation's rail line coming together at Promontory Point. On one float, crepe paper locomotives playfully shook gloved hands, as presented by Bountiful Utah South Stake. "On the Rails of Courage" was the slogan of the Salt Lake Butler Stake's float of two railroad engines and their engineers standing in formal attire in front.
Jungle animals populated entries as well. The "Children's Favorite" award went to an African animals-themed entry, sporting monkeys riding on the backs of saggy-skinned elephants, long-necked giraffes with really long eyelashes; a safari presented by the Salt Lake Monument Park Stake. On another, the Sandy Utah Crescent Park Stake, which won the Sweepstakes and People's Choice awards, monkeys swinging from palm trees were reminiscent of a recent movie, "Madagascar," as they enjoyed some of the humanitarian aid that emanates from this area to that island nation and around the world.
A whimsical entry of the Murray Utah West stake looked back longingly to the simple, healthy life of pioneers, "A Beacon to Today's Children." The Bountiful Utah Mueller Park Stake, which has a temple in its boundaries, depicted a large farmer whose crop was buildings and a temple, above the slogan, "Courage to Grow." A temple was also happily presented on the float of the South Mountain Draper Utah Stake, which will soon have a new temple in its midst.
The legacy of the Utah Salt Flats was portrayed by the Bountiful Utah Stake, "Land Speed Pioneers," featuring the famed race car Mormon Meteor nearing a finish line. Other floats included one made entirely of quilts soon to be donated to the LDS Humanitarian Center, and another showed off trees whose leaves were comprised of green handprints of the stake's Primary children.
These were just some of the parade's 52 floats among 110 entries. Most floats were were conceived, built and staffed by area stakes. These obviously time-consuming projects had no other object in mind but to delight the child in people of all ages.
E-mail: [email protected]