Everyone in Salt Lake has heard and likely attended some of the Days of ’47 events that take place around July 24 every year, from the parade to the rodeo to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert. But there are a few more events that are possibly less well-known that families can attend this year to get into the spirit of Pioneer Day.
If you didn't get your tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert, or if you just feel like something a little different and maybe less formal, the Days of ’47 KUTV Pops Concert, present by Med One Group, is taking place that same weekend, Friday and Saturday, July 14 and 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main St.
The pops concert has been in existence for a surprising 70 years, and Sterling Poulson has been conducting it since 1997 when he founded the Choral Arts Society of Utah. Poulson runs the whole show — he raises the funds, reserves the venue, picks the music, finds guest artists, advertises and even prints the program.
Normally, the concert is held in Abravanel Hall, but due to construction it is taking place in the Eccles Theater for one year before going back to Abravanel — where they're booked for the next 10 years. Poulson has no intention of letting this tradition fall to the wayside.
This year the choir will be accompanied by the 23rd Army Band, although Poulson said in an interview with the Deseret News that he rotates through the West Valley Symphony and the Salt Lake Symphony as well year by year. He said one of his main goals with this concert is to give opportunities to local Utah talent, which is why he's also included local jazz performer Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin.
Since he already had a local guest artist, Poulson felt good about including the Princeton Girlchoir from New Jersey when they called him up in January to say they were on tour this summer.
"This (concert) is music that people love to hear. It's music that you can tap your toes to," Poulson said. "There's nothing high-brow about this concert."
Tickets to the concert are free but can be reserved in advance. Poulson said he expects to run out of tickets by July 8, but seating will still be available the night of the performance on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 7:15 p.m. Visit daysof47.com or casu.org for more information on how to reserve tickets.
What began as a stake activity for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 20 years ago has evolved into an open event with hundreds of attendees. The First Encampment Hike is a commemorative trek to the first pioneer campsite of the scouts who arrived two days before Brigham Young on July 22. This year, the hike happens to take place on the exact day, Saturday, July 22, at 7 a.m.
The 5-mile hike is meant for the whole family, and the man who has managed the event for the past six years, Wayne Howcroft, makes sure to provide plenty of popsicles along the way. It starts at Donner Park (2770 E. 990 South) and follows Emigration Creek as closely as possible before arriving at First Encampment Park (1700 S. 500 East), where a traditional pioneer breakfast of buckwheat pancakes and old-fashioned bacon is served for $3 a plate.
Howcroft said many families have been coming to the event for years and some even dress up and bring handcarts. Others bring names of their pioneer ancestors to remember them as they hike. Howcroft also provides commemorative badges for every attendee.
"It's a lot of stress, a lot of preparation, a lot of work," he said of putting on the event every year. "But when I see all the people come, I get the satisfaction of putting on an event that people enjoy. … It helps bring the community together."
For more information or to register for the event, visit daysof47.com.
Also moved for construction this year, the Sunrise Service, which has normally been located in the Tabernacle, will take place at the Assembly Hall this year at Temple Square, 50 W. North Temple, at 7 a.m. on Monday, July 24.
John Elggren, national president of the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers said the association has run the service for about 25 years to add a spiritual boost to the Pioneer Days activities. This year, Kevin R. Duncan, an LDS General Authority Seventy, will speak, followed by a musical number from the 2017 Days of ’47 royalty.
Elggren said about 45 minutes of the program is music, with performances by the Salt Lake City Institute combined choirs, as well as a flag ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance conducted by the Mormon Battalion.
A large portion of those in attendance are either in or attending the Days of ’47 parade afterward.
"It gives a good basis for what the day actually is," Elggren said. "Remembrance of our pioneer forefathers and a good spiritual beginning … for the day, knowing what the day is actually for."
Admission is free and open to the public and there are no tickets required. Attendees must be seated by 6:50 a.m.
Here are the rest of the Days of ’47 festivities taking place in Salt Lake and Washington counties.
The Days of ’47 Board of Trustees will honor Utahns who they feel perpetuate the legacy of the Utah pioneers with Pioneers of Progress Awards. Candidates are nominated by Utah citizens and finalists are selected by the Days of ’47 executive committee. Among the nominees are Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church and Donald Evan Moss, the co-founder of Chuck-a-rama. The reception will take place Thursday, July 13, at 6:30 p.m., with a dinner and awards ceremony following at 7 p.m, at the Salt Lake Marriott City Center, 220 S. State St. Contact Margo Ayre at 801-495-3766 or firstname.lastname@example.org to attend.
The man who played George Washington from the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” Christopher Jackson, is the guest artist at this year’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s Pioneer Day Concerts, Friday and Saturday, July 14 and 15, at 8 p.m. at the Conference Center, 60 N. Temple. Free tickets are required and are available to those ages 8 and older at lds.org/events, by calling 801-570-0080 or at the Conference Center ticket office.
Meet the creators of the 2017 Days of ’47 Parade floats and vote for your favorite at the 2017 Float Preview Party Monday and Tuesday, July 17 and 18, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State St. in Sandy. Winners will receive banners to carry on July 24. There will be bands, clowns and other entertainment. Admission is free and photo opportunities with the Days of ’47 Royalty will take place from 2-5 p.m. each day.
One of the largest youth parades in the United States will take place in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 22, at 10 a.m. The parade starts at the city and county building on 600 E. 500 South and runs west, ending on Washington Square, 200 E. 500 South. There will be marching bands, floats, performing groups and several thousand children involved. The lineup begins at 8 a.m. One float will be selected by judges to participate in the parade on July 24.
At the end of the youth parade route will be free pioneer-themed activities including inflatable slides, face painting and sporting events. Snacks and treats will also be available for purchase. The event will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, at Washington Square, 200 E. 450 South.
The Days of ’47 Komatsu Equipment Cowboy Games run from Wednesday-Saturday, July 19-22, and Monday, July 24, at 7 p.m. at the Utah State Fair Park, 155 N. 1000 West. Tickets are available from $14-$59 at smithstix.com or by calling 801-355-7328. Taking place in the new Days of ’47 Arena with 10,000 stadium-style seats, the rodeo will include bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding. The medal round on July 24 will be televised on CBS Sports Networks and the winners will each receive $50,000 in cash.
The oldest race in Utah will take place along the Days of ’47 parade route on Monday, July 24. The full marathon begins at 6 a.m. at the top of Big Mountain and the half marathon also begins at 6 a.m. at the top of Little Mountain. The 10K starts at Research Park, 500 S. Wakara Way, at 6 a.m. and the 5K at Wasatch Elementary, 1150 E. South Temple, at 7 a.m. Prizes will be awards to male and female winners through third place. All participates will be chip-timed and receive race shirts and finisher medals. Register to participate at deseretnews.com/marathon.
One of the oldest parades in Utah will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 24, at South Temple and State Street and end at Liberty Park, 600 E. 900 South. Many families camp out the night before to catch the floats, bands, horses and other spectacles.
Days of ’47 is not limited to Salt Lake County; Washington County also has a host of events from July 17-24. Learn to jig for free at the International Dance Night on Tuesday, July 18, at 7 p.m. at 100 E. Telegraph. There are two free musicals the evening of Wednesday, July 19: one, titled “Honoring Pioneer Women” will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Staheli Family Farm, 3400 S. Washington Fields, and the other is a performance of Disney's "High School Musical" at Brigham’s Playhouse at 7 p.m. at 25 N 300 W, Washington. There is square dancing at the Washington City Community Center, 300 N. 300 East, Washington, from Friday-Saturday, July 21-22, at 6 p.m. On Sunday, July 23, at 7 p.m. there will be a fireside with a guest speaker at the Washington LDS Stake Center at 486 E. Mangum Road, Washington.
Monday, July 24, begins with a flag-raising at Veteran’s Park at 7 a.m., then a breakfast at the Washington City Lion’s Club at 7:30 a.m. at $5 a person, $20 for a family of up to five. The parade begins at 9 a.m. then game, food booths, foot races and other entertainment at 10 a.m.
For more information, visit daysof47dixie.com.