The arrival of the pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, has given many a reason to celebrate year after year. Even outside of Utah many gather to celebrate the arrival of the pioneers.
With a large pioneer celebration planned for July 18 in Pocatello, Idaho, neighboring stakes were encouraged to do some kind of service activity that would give back to the community.
With the encouragement, the Chubbuck Idaho Stake stepped up to the plate on June 30. Quarterly, the stake usually has a special project on each fifth Tuesday. They have done service activities such as picking up rocks at the Church farm and cleared weeds and brush from community hiking and walking trails.
Looking at the calendar and noticing their next project would fall at the end of June and also remembering that the Pioneer Day celebration wasn't too far off, plans were made to focus on the Bannock County fairgrounds.
"For June we thought it would be a good time to do a project that might benefit the Pioneer Day celebration. I knew the fairgrounds needed help and I contacted them," said Norm Reece, first counselor in the Chubbuck Idaho stake presidency.
After experiencing some budget cuts recently, the people in charge of the fairgrounds were more than willing to receive the service. They provided 50 gallons of paint and all the buckets and brushes needed to paint the 2,000 feet of stadium bleachers.
"The aspect that was the most troubling was the bleachers. They hadn't been painted in years and were decrepit looking," said Rich Kirkham, the Pioneer Day Committee chairman.
Equipped with paint and other supplies, more than 200 youth and leaders went to work.
After organizing the project, President Reece had one concern — make sure those serving get more paint on the bleachers than on each other.
"Fortunately, we were able to do that," he said.
He reported that the youth had a great time and kept most of the paint where it belonged. It was a good thing too, because after painting for an hour and a half the 50 gallons of paint was not quite enough to finish all of the grandstands.
Regardless of not quite finishing, those involved with the project were satisfied.
"We are really happy about the results of the project. 'Joy in the Journey' is our theme and these little projects have given us joy," Brother Kirkham said.
Many other projects have been performed to benefit the fairgrounds and other community sites by wards, stakes and Eagle Scouts. Among other projects, ticket booths were re-roofed, the concession stand was painted and there have been various landscaping projects.
"There have been a lot of projects that have warmed our hearts that have showed us the LDS people can step up," Brother Kirkham said.
The celebration will be kicked off with bike races and a fun run at 7 a.m. At 10 a.m., the parade will commence in which Elder Spencer J. Condie of the Seventy will be the grand marshal. Everyone will then congregate to the fairgrounds for activities from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The celebration will be wrapped up at Pocatello High School where the group Eclipse will put on a concert at 7 p.m.
Among the fairgrounds activities are relay races, face painting and a dunking booth. Admission is free. For more information on the Pioneer Day celebration visit www.pioneerdaycelebration.com.