Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lund's Pioneer Day Festival

Today is an official holiday. At least it is for the state of Utah. State government offices are closed, as are many businesses. When I came to the Great Basin, I had never heard of July 24th as a holiday, but it turns out it generates a lot of road traffic in Utah, second only to Fourth of July.

What is this holiday?

It's Pioneer Day.

Pioneer Day commemorates when Brigham Young and his followers reached the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. According to Wikipedia, Pioneer Day celebrates all pioneers, defined as those who arrived before the transcontinental railroad chugged into the area in 1869.

We didn't camp overnight on the streets of Salt Lake City to hold our spot for a parade, but we decided we did want to see a parade, so we headed to Lund, Nevada (they had their celebration over the weekend). The town was settled by Mormons, and they celebrate their heritage with a two-night rodeo, dance, parade, barbeque, fireworks, and more.

While we waited for the parade, Desert Boy got a lesson in roping. He's decided he's going to be a great roper. We'll have to get him a rope first and see if he's willing to give up finding new pets and spend time twirling his rope.

The parade started quietly, with beautiful horses and riders leading the way.

The Grand Marshal for the parade was a true pioneer, 107 years old. Wow!

At the other end of the spectrum were some of the youngest riders I've ever seen. Apparently the twins each weighed over seven pounds at birth. Those are going to be some tough youngsters!
For locals, you might recognize the parents--they lived recently in the next valley over.

With it being an election year, a few politicians came and tried to garner extra votes.

This guy on the unicycle made me tired just watching him! It takes so much balance--plus each pedal stroke only gets you about three inches down the road!

It was a long parade, with a lot of great entries. When they reached the end of the parade route, they simply turned around and came back on the other side of the road, so we got to see everything twice.

The family floats were really creative.

After the parade was a program with fun acts. These ladies got the crowd laughing.

The quartet did an amazing job.

We really enjoyed the barbeque lunch. I also ran in the 5K and got my best time this year. We saw just a tiny bit of the rodeo, and the kids had fun playing some games. It was a fun event, and a good excuse to get away for part of the weekend!

How did you spend Pioneer Day?


John Mosley said...

I first encountered Pioneer Day when I wandered into Baker in search of a hot shower, a cold drink, food that I didn't have to cook on a Coleman stove, and a Post Office from which to mail rocks. I think every camping place in the park was taken. I think I ended up pitching a tent at Whispering Elms. (I think that was the name of the place).

I had never even heard of the holiday. Lots of nice people. The very antithesis of Sturgis.

jchris said...

My wife grew up in Lund Nevada so we have been to many 24 th celebrations and other events. We lived in Lund for about 3 years in the late 70's great town with people that are the salt of the earth. I enjoyed the article and pictures. Thanks Chris Jensen

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