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Days of '47 Parade celebrates pioneering

Many Latter-day Saint stakes make floats for annual event, staged to honor Utah's early pioneers and their legacy

On a pleasant summer morning, crowds lined the streets of downtown Salt Lake City for the annual Pioneer Day parade July 24. All ages cheered as floats traveled the parade route, each with its own colorful and artistic representation of this year's theme, "Still Pioneering Together." As a celebration for Utah's pioneer heritage, the floats creatively represented pioneers from an array of areas.

President Thomas S. Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints waves to the crowds in attendance at the Days of 47 parade on July 24, 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah. At right is his wife Frances. August Miller/ Deseret Morning News
President Thomas S. Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints waves to the crowds in attendance at the Days of 47 parade on July 24, 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah. At right is his wife Frances. August Miller/ Deseret Morning News Photo: August Miller/ Deseret Morning N

Businesses, communities and stakes pulled together their time, energy and resources to make the 47 floats in the parade. Each float had an hour showing as it traveled from South Temple and Main Street to Liberty Park, between 6th and 7th East and 1300 South. Nearly two dozen of the floats were sponsored by the Church, including stakes, BYU, and LDS Business College.

"It's really rewarding to see from scratch drawing to finished product," said April Filler of the Woods Cross North Stake. "It's been a fun project start to end."

Preparations for the parade started months prior to the event. Carpenters, artists and mechanics are among the many skills needed for the float creation, so for many of the stakes involved it was a huge collaborative effort.

"People come together and talent comes out of the woodwork for this huge undertaking," said Sherrie Cottam, religious float coordinator on the Days of '47 Parade committee. "Most of the people didn't know anybody else and then, all of the sudden, they started working as a team and now they have lasting friendships."

Draper Utah Crescent View Stake float, moving to a contemporary rhythm of the Primary song, "Give Said the Little Stream," won the Legacy Award. The float was titled, "Still in Harmony."
Draper Utah Crescent View Stake float, moving to a contemporary rhythm of the Primary song, "Give Said the Little Stream," won the Legacy Award. The float was titled, "Still in Harmony." Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd

Centerville Utah Stake's float coordinator Melanie Nash hoped viewers took home more than just something fun to look at. Her stake's float included a scene depicting the Prophet Joseph Smith handing keys to President Thomas S. Monson. With that scene, Sister Nash hoped viewers understood more how the past meets the present, as well as strengthening their testimony of the importance of missionary work.

For many involved behind the scenes, the parade was the grand finale of many hours of hard work.

"I can't get over the quality of floats this year," said Sister Cottam. "I love the color, the experience and sharing it with others. ... The sense of accomplishment is so great."

• To see additional photographs of Latter-day Saint floats, please go to the Church News web site: www.ldschurchnews.com.

Fans wave to President Thomas Monson and his wife Frances at the Days of 47 parade in Salt Lake City on July 24,  2008.   Photo/Laura Seitz, Deseret News.
Fans wave to President Thomas Monson and his wife Frances at the Days of 47 parade in Salt Lake City on July 24, 2008. Photo/Laura Seitz, Deseret News. Photo: Deseret News
The Farmington Stake float won the Days of '47 Sweepstakes Award and the People's Choice Award at the Days of 47 parade in Salt Lake City on July 24,  2008.   Photo/Laura Seitz, Deseret News.
The Farmington Stake float won the Days of '47 Sweepstakes Award and the People's Choice Award at the Days of 47 parade in Salt Lake City on July 24, 2008. Photo/Laura Seitz, Deseret News. Photo: Deseret News

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Parade awards

The following Latter-day Saint floats won awards in the Days of '47 Parade, held in downtown Salt Lake City July 24:

• Farmington Utah Stake, Days of '47 Sweepstakes Award and People's Choice Award

• Sandy Utah Canyon View Stake, Outstanding Animation Award

• Salt Lake Pioneer Stake, Ensign Award

• Sandy Utah Crescent South Stake, Children's Choice Award

• Brigham Young University, Mayor's Award

• Bountiful Utah Val Verda Stake, Spirit of Faith Award

• Draper Utah Crescent View Stake, Legacy Award

• Salt Lake Utah (Tongan) Stake, Utah Award

• Murray Utah Stake, Daughters of Utah Pioneers Award

• Centerville Utah North Stake, Pioneers Award