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MUSIC AND LAUGHTER FILL AIR AS 4,000 YOUTHS HONOR PIONEER SPIRIT

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MUSIC AND LAUGHTER FILL AIR AS 4,000 YOUTHS HONOR PIONEER SPIRIT

DAYS OF '47: THE 75 PARADE ENTRIES INCLUDE CHILDREN FROM 20 NATIONS, CLOWNS AND BANDS.Innocence was in the air Saturday morning during the annual Days of '47 Youth Parade as more than 4,000 children strode down Main Street dressed in creative, colorful costumes under sunny skies.

The parade featured about 75 entries, including floats, bands and clowns, who made the crowd roar with laughter as they performed tricks and entertained hundreds of people who jammed the sidewalks to watch the event.The parade began at the Brigham Young Monument on South Temple and Main Street, with West Valley City Pack 599 offering an impressive Cub Scout color guard displaying a large American flag.

This year's parade theme was "Pioneer Heritage, A World Tradition" and included children from 20 countries who carried their nations' flags for the procession.

Grand marshall was Hugh Taylor, who has been a clown for 26 years and has participated in the parade for the past eight years. Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis was also on hand to welcome the public.

Other dignitaries included Salt Lake County Commissioner Mike Stewart and his wife, Salt Lake CityPolice Chief Mike P. Chabries, Salt Lake Fire Chief Dennis M. Sargent and the General Primary presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: President Michaelene P. Grassli and her counselors, Betty Jo Jepsen and Ruth B. Wright.

"Today we pay honor to our heritage and to the pioneer spirit which is in the hearts of all children. I love our children and hope they will be provided with every opportunity to develop to their full potential," President Grassli said.

"I have three children participating today in this event, that's why we are here," said George Broadbent, of West Valley City. "It's really wonderful to see our youth with so much energy."

The religious section included entries from many LDS stakes. More than 700 children paid tribute to freedom, the New World, the LDS missionary program, LDS music, Jesus Christ's sacrifice, families and Utah pioneers.

Bands from John F. Kennedy Junior High, Hunter Junior High and Park City Treasure Mountain Junior High schools entertained the crowd with music.

One of the most impressive entries in the Storybook section was "One Valiant Heritage," put together by the Hunter 21st Ward of the Salt Lake Hunter Coppermill Stake. Marchers represented the age of chivalry and the values of honesty, strength and right with 130 children carrying a 10-foot-long green dragon made of balloons.

Another popular entry was "Dreams Can Come True" by wards from the Salt Lake Olympus Stake, which used 285 children to portray undersea creatures following Prince Erik and Ariel from the Walt Disney movie "The Little Mermaid." The group was headed by a woman dressed as the diabolical sea witch, Ursula.

Spectators also enjoyed "Grandpa's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," an original green and yellow Studebaker driven by Heber and Geri Barker and family. The car drove slowly while children applauded and Barker sounded a comical horn.