Facebook Twitter

Opinion: The floats you’ll never see at the Pioneer Day parade

Though political themes are banned at the Days of ’47 Pioneer Day parade, we imagine what they would look like

SHARE Opinion: The floats you’ll never see at the Pioneer Day parade
The Days of ’47 Royalty float makes its way along the parade route in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 23, 2021.

The Days of ’47 Royalty float makes its way along the parade route in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 23, 2021. Sunday is Pioneer Day, a uniquely Utah celebration.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Sunday is Pioneer Day, a uniquely Utah celebration that has wisely been broadened to honor all Utahns, past and present, who have been pioneers in a variety of ways. 

Thus, whether you will be at church on Sunday singing, “Come, Come Ye Saints,” or welcoming the arrival of Ukrainian immigrant pioneers fleeing violence, or celebrating the success of pioneering women politicians, this day has something for everyone.

The famous parade through downtown Salt Lake City will be held on Saturday. All Utahns should enjoy this pageantry that honors pioneer virtues, even if our ancestors were not in that original pioneer company crossing the Plains. Political themes are banned in the Days of ’47 Parade. But that doesn’t stop our eccentric imaginations from envisioning what politicos and other people might do if they had the opportunity:

Gov. Spencer Cox: On a flatbed farm truck with manure on its wheels, standing between lifelike statues of cable TV personalities Tucker Carlson and John Oliver. Overhead, a large banner reads, “Mocked by the right wing and left wing, proving I am your mainstream Utah governor.”

Sen. Mitt Romney: In a convertible with his family holding a sign, “Romney: Utah’s Junior Senator but the State’s Elder Statesman.”

Sen. Mike Lee: Standing astride a huge float with a massive elephant and the banner, “Remember, I’m the Republican in this race — not that guy endorsed by left-wing Democrats!”

Independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin: Standing on a platform, arms outstretched, on a float surrounded by adoring followers holding the banner, “Evan McMullin, the modern Moses guiding us into the land of civil discourse, unvarnished truth, better days, more butterflies and unicorns.”

Inland Port Authority board members: Marching and holding the banner, “This is the year we do something. We promise. Really, something is going to happen. Something big!”

Utah Hospitality Association (trade organization for clubs and bars): Huge float with papier-mâché cocktail glasses and beer mugs with banner, “Beat the drought. Visit our establishments for the best alternative to water.”

Convicted inmates: Under the watchful eye of burly guards, representatives of the prison population will march holding the banner, “Hey Utah, thanks for the new digs. Very cool. Can we borrow some mosquito repellent?”

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson: Surrounded by staff carrying the banner, “Maintaining Utah’s other legacy — preventing nonexistent voter fraud.”

Senate President Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson: Leading a pack of lawmakers: “Utah legislators: the officials you love to grumble about while we do the heavy lifting for water, transportation, growth and education. You’re welcome!”

University of Utah President Taylor Randall: In a truck pulling a large billboard proclaiming “University of Utah, proud member of the Pac-12 (10), or Big 12, or affiliation with ACC, or revitalization of Mountain West Conference or …?”

BYU President Kevin Worthen: Walking with his family holding a sign: “BYU. Now you need us for a major conference. Maybe we will forgive.”

Utah Republican Party Chairman Carson Jorgensen and his officers carrying the banner, “Utah GOP. Our primary purge didn’t work so well. On to the general elections.”

Utah Democratic Party Chairwoman Diane Lewis and her officers carrying the banner, “Please consider anything other than inflation when voting this year. Please.”

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall: Riding a convertible with the sign “Salt Lake City: providing wokeness, diversity and coolness to Utah.”

Attorney General Sean Reyes: Carrying a sign with his deputies, “Suing the feds, Big Tech and really bad guys. Somebody (especially a potential U.S. Senate candidate in 2024) has to do it.”

Utah Jazz players and management: Riding a float with the banner, “New management, new uniforms, new coach, new players. Will we win any games? Stay tuned.”

Friends of Great Salt Lake environmental group: Members carrying banner, “Finally, we got your attention.”

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson: Riding in her convertible with the sign, “Your loud voice in the wilderness of Republicans.”

Utah’s congressional delegation of Chris Stewart, John Curtis, Blake Moore, Burgess Owens: All balanced on a surfboard-shaped float with the banner, “Riding that red wave in November!”

Democratic congressional challengers Rick Jones, Nicolas Mitchell, Glenn Wright, Darlene McDonald: Whispering among themselves, “How did we get in the goats section of the parade?” and carrying a banner saying: “Sure, you’ve never heard of us. But here we are. We are very much alive. Please don’t forget us.”

President Joe Biden: Riding on an Air Force One float, caught on a hot mic mumbling, “Where are we? Utah? Oh. Yes, I remember Brigham Young. Wasn’t he Orrin’s friend?”

Former President Donald Trump: Scowling and walking with a group of MAGA troops holding a large banner: “It’s simple logic! If you didn’t vote for Trump you stole the election!”

Pignanelli and Webb will, as usual, be walking at the very end of the parade, doing what we do best, cleaning up the horse manure and political garbage. Based on last year’s experience, we’ll also be holding a sign: “Water balloons and rotten tomatoes are OK, but please don’t throw rocks.”

Republican LaVarr Webb is a former journalist and a semiretired small farmer and political consultant. Email:lwebb@exoro.com.

Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser who served as a Democrat in the Utah state Legislature. Email: frankp@xmission.com.