Big crowds line Salt Lake City streets for Days of '47 Parade

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(Photo: Reece Ivins)SALT LAKE CITY -- Thousands of people gathered in downtown Salt Lake City for one of Utah's biggest celebrations Saturday morning -- the Days of '47 Parade.

The parade, which is one of the largest in the country, kicked off around 9 a.m.

Parade-goers lined the route, which began at South Temple and State Street, turned onto 200 East and ended at Liberty Park. Many dedicated fans camped overnight for prime seating and said the parade was definitely worth the wait.

The event included floats, marching bands, classic cars, local law enforcement, and city, state and church leaders -- among other things. The crowed was wowed by the intricate detail of many displays.

"I liked all the floats and all the effort they put into making them," said Ben Woellhef.

The Boy Scouts float was one of several that stood out. It honored the 100th anniversary of the organization. Troop leader Rob Woellhef called the parade a "once in a lifetime experience."

"Boy Scouts of America is one of those foundations that tries to bring boys back to those traditional values the pioneers had," he said.

Those participating in the parade, along with those watching, braved temperatures that reached into the 90s.

The Days of '47 Parade commemorates the day pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reached the Salt Lake Valley.

The new settlers held the first parade in 1849, along with a rodeo. The official Days of '47 celebration was created in 1943.

The festivities continue into Saturday night at Liberty Park, where close to 50,000 people are expected to gather for the fireworks show, set to begin at 10 p.m. The only drawback -- the park still isn't back to normal after the oil spill tainted the pond there.

"It's annoying to see the park not as it was before," said Said Alhayek.

But the park is recovering just in time to remind people of its importance as part of one of the biggest festivals in Salt Lake City.



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