How Utah plans to 'party like it's 2002' on Pioneer Day

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announces a July 24 viewing event for the anticipated host city bid decision in Salt Lake City on Monday. The IOC will vote July 24 whether to award Salt Lake City the 2034 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announces a July 24 viewing event for the anticipated host city bid decision in Salt Lake City on Monday. The IOC will vote July 24 whether to award Salt Lake City the 2034 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. (Brice Tucker, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Pioneer Day was created to celebrate the day in 1847 when pioneer settlers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley to build what is modern-day Utah. However, this year's festivities will go beyond honoring the past.

Multiple Utah cities on July 24 will also celebrate plans to welcome the world in the future.

Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games released plans to "Celebrate 2034" on Pioneer Day, coinciding with the International Olympic Committee's expected vote to award Salt Lake City the 2034 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games.

"We are planning to channel some extra state pride and we're going to party like it's 2002," said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. "I want to hear all of your cheers from Washington Square in Paris on July 24 when they vote, 'yes.'"

The festivities will begin super early in Salt Lake City on July 24.

Most of Utah's committee will be in Paris to make its last pitch to the IOC at 11 a.m., which is 3 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time. The estimated 30-minute presentation will be streamed live at Washington Square outside the Salt Lake City-County Building, 451 S. State, the same venue where Utah celebrated receiving the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995.

IOC officials are expected to vote on awarding the 2034 Games at 4 a.m., before an official announcement, which is anticipated to be made at 4:20 a.m. All will also be streamed live, as well.

The Salt Lake City-Utah 2034 "transition logo" will be unveiled around 5:30 a.m. Food trucks will be set up to sling out breakfast foods, since the vote and announcement will be so early in the morning.

"There will be lots of caffeinated beverages and — most of all — hopefully your adrenaline," Mendenhall said. "We want you to bring your friends, your family and kids because we're going to be making a new core memory as a community."

Those who stick around will get a prime seat to the Days of '47 Parade, which will pass through the eastern side of Washington Square later in the morning. The parade is slated to begin at 9 a.m., beginning outside Temple Square and ending at Liberty Park. The city will also hold a Pioneer Day drone show at Liberty Park that night.

Other Celebrate 2034 events are planned outside of Salt Lake City on July 24:

  • Charleston, Wasatch County, will raise the Salt Lake City-Utah Olympic flag along with other flags for its Pioneer Day flag-raising event at 6:45 a.m. It will hold live music and fireworks that night.
  • A celebration event will be held at Utah Olympic Park, 3419 Olympic Parkway in Park City, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will feature food, music, activities, giveaways and other events, including meetups with Olympic athletes and a free performance by the Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show team.
  • Free public skating, fireworks and Olympic athlete meetups are planned for Peaks Ice Arena, 100 N. Seven Peaks Blvd. in Provo, during the evening.

Catherine Raney Norman, chairwoman of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, said the committee is working with the League of Towns and Cities over possibly adding more statewide events by July 24. Free Olympic-related stickers will be available for people attending the various events.

But Norman — one of the many delegates who will head out to Paris for the final presentation — is taking it one step at a time. She's looking forward to the possible "yes" vote and watching the early morning crowd react from afar.

"I cannot wait to see you all virtually from Paris," she said. "I'm looking for the best pajama outfit at 3 a.m. in red, white and blue."

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Utah Olympics bidUtahSportsOlympicsSalt Lake CountySummit/Wasatch CountyUtah County
Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.

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