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Floats and smiles highlight youth parade

A pioneer spirit of cooperation, together with beautifully decorated floats and bright costumes made this year's Days of '47 Youth Parade one of the most successful, according to the parade's chairman, Norma Jones.

"We have never had entries like we had this year on a religious, patriotic or heritage theme. That shows the pioneer spirit we had in this parade. Not only could we see it, but we felt it."About 4,000 children participated in the parade, held July 21 in downtown Salt Lake City. The 67 entries were spread across five categories - pioneer, religious, patriotic, storybook and an open section for those wanting to dress up and walk in the parade.

The largest entry of 300 children came from the Salt Lake Olympus Stake and was entitled, "Dreams Can Come True." The stake fashioned its float and costumes after characters from the movie, "The Little Mermaid," with the children carrying paper fish and blue and green streamers to create the illusion of being under the sea.

The Salt Lake Mount Olympus Stake focused on recycling in its float, "Pioneers For Our Planet." The children collected 100 pounds of aluminum cans to use in the entry. Each one pulled cans tied to a string behind them to make a unique musical sound.

The religious section of the parade had the most entries, Sister Jones said. Entries included Moses and the 12 Tribes of Israel; Helaman's Army; Noah's Ark with all the children dressed as animals in "Pioneering a Clean World"; and "Come Follow Me," an entry with 150 children dressed as missionaries going forth to various countries.

Another entry, "Make a Joyful Sound," included the story of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Children were dressed up as choir members and sang as they marched down the street.

Primary Gen. Pres. Michaelene P. Grassli and her counselors, Betty Jo Jepsen and Ruth B. Wright, rode in the parade. Hugh Taylor, or Hugo the clown, was honored this year as the parade's grand marshal. He has been a clown for 26 years, nine years in the youth parade.

The parade, a tradition for more than 40 years, followed the theme, "Pioneer Heritage, A World Tradition." There was no judging involved and no prizes or awards were given. "We want to make it special for children because they are all winners," Sister Jones said.

"I believe the parade is a chance for the youth to remember and honor their pioneer heritage. Even though they walk only a few miles, the children think of their ancestors who walked many miles, including the children," Sister Jones said.