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PHOTOS: Thousands enjoy parade, Pioneer Day celebrations

By Linda Williams and Jed Boal | Posted - Jul 24th, 2013 @ 6:06pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — People across Utah are celebrating Pioneer Day on Wednesday with a parade, ceremonies and fireworks.

This year's July 24 holiday marks the 166th anniversary of the day Mormon settlers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

The centerpiece of the celebrations was the KSL Days of '47 Parade in downtown Salt Lake City, which ranks among the oldest and largest parades in the country.

Tens of thousands of people lined the parade route, which started at State Street and South Temple and ended at Liberty Park.

The Salt Lake City police had extra bike officers patrolling the parade route.

Thousands of people woke up along the parade route Wednesday morning after camping out. Street campers brought hammocks, air mattresses and blankets. For many of them, it's tradition.

"It's fun," one camper said. "We do it every year. We look forward to it. I make sure I have work off so that I can stay up late and hang out with all my friends and party."

During the festivities, one local family had three generations of family together at the parade.

"We have nine children, and most of them show up every year, and we just have a great time," said resident Julie Pugmire.

However, Pioneer Day celebrations don't stop with the parade.

The Salt Lake Pioneer chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers held a sunrise service to honor those who made the journey to Utah over 150 years ago.

After the parade, dozens of Native Americans from across the region donned their traditional dance regalia and held a pow-wow.

"This is what it used to be back then," said David Yazzie of the Navajo Nation.

Traditionally Native Americans danced to celebrate a good hunt or the end of a war, but now they dance for competition and to keep traditions alive.

Utah's Pioneer Day celebration will be capped with a fireworks display at Liberty Park in Salt Lake and in many other locations around the state Wednesday night.

Contributing: Associated Press

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Linda Williams
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