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Days of '47 Parade, Deseret News Marathon canceled due to coronavirus concerns

Laura Seitz, KSL, FIle

Days of '47 Parade, Deseret News Marathon canceled due to coronavirus concerns

By Carter Williams, | Updated - Apr. 28, 2020 at 5:59 p.m. | Posted - Apr. 28, 2020 at 5:01 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Days of '47 Parade and all other events scheduled for Pioneer Day have been canceled for 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, event organizers announced Tuesday.

The announcement came after the Days of '47 Board of Trustees met to discuss the future of the 2020 events earlier in the day. Cancelations include the parade, rodeo, Pioneers of Progress dinner, sunrise service, royalty pageant and pops concert that were planned from July 16 leading up to the anniversary of pioneers reaching the Salt Lake Valley on July 24.

Organizers anticipate having events again for Pioneer Day 2021.

"The Board acknowledges conditions may change between now and July, but because considerable work needs to be done in the meantime — much of which involves large groups building floats, etc. — a deadline had to be imposed, and the decision had to be made now," the organization said in a statement.

The Days of '47 events are a massive draw for the state holiday and are a staple of the state's history as the first parade to celebrate the settling of the state by pioneers. The first parade was held in 1849, and it's grown ever since.

An estimated 250,000 people gathered between South Temple and State to Liberty Park to watch the 2019 parade.

In addition, the Deseret News Marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K races that were also to be held on Pioneer Day are canceled. Run since 1970, it's the oldest road race in Utah and the fourth oldest road race in the western U.S.

"Based on the coronavirus and the desire to keep runners and the public safe, we need to cancel the races this year," said Mike Todd, chief financial officer and associate publisher of the Deseret News, as well as the race organizer. "Our desire is to give the runners an option to get a refund of their entry fee or defer their entry fee to next year's races."

Those who signed up will receive an email this week informing them of what actions they need to take for a refund, according to event organizers.

The announcements regarding Pioneer Day events were made as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases during the pandemic in Utah rose to 4,343 on Tuesday. At that point, the disease had led to 370 hospitalizations and 45 deaths, as well.

Contributing: Jacob Klopfenstein,

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