Published July 19, 2023 | By Lynn Blamires, feature writer for My Local Utah
A long-time tradition in Salt Lake City, this year’s Days of ’47 will be spectacular. Celebrating the arrival of the first pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley, this event has become a beloved memorial tradition. While Monday, July 24 is the big day, there is one event that stands out as representing the spirit of this commemoration that happens on the Saturday before the big day:
July 22 – Saturday – First Encampment Hike
During this family-oriented event, you can walk in the footsteps of the 1847 pioneers in a festive and commemorative hike that follows Emigration Creek through beautiful Salt Lake City neighborhoods. Points of interest will be described, and pioneer conveyances demonstrated along the way. Foods prepared during the era will be discussed.
The hike begins at 7 a.m. at Donner Park (2770 East and 990 South, east of Hogle Zoo) and ends at First Encampment Park (1700 South and 500 East), near the site where the pioneers camped in the Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847. The hike is five miles long. Please arrange your transportation accordingly.
Families are encouraged to participate, but no unaccompanied children can be accommodated. Wagons and strollers for children are welcome. No bicycles, skateboards, or scooters are allowed, except as reasonably necessary to facilitate disability access. To add to the festivities, participants are welcome to bring an American flag, wear a name tag, or dress in a period costume to honor a pioneer. Be sure to bring your own water.
This will be the 19th year of this Commemorative Trek to the first pioneer campsite in the Salt Lake Valley. Commemorative badges will be issued to all hike participants.
An authentic pioneer breakfast of buckwheat pancakes and old-fashioned bacon will be served at the Hike’s ending spot at First Encampment Park for $5.00 a plate. Tours of the Wilford Woodruff farmhouse will be available at the conclusion of the hike at 1604 South 500 East.
July 24 – Monday – Deseret News Marathon
Run to the cheers of spectators along The Days of ’47 KSL 5 Parade route. Prizes will be awarded to male and female 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. All race participants will be chip-timed and will receive technical race shirts and finisher medals.
The full and half marathons begin at the top of Big Mountain above Ensign Peak at 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. The 10K begins at 6:00 a.m. from Research Park – 500 South Wakara Way.
July 24 – Monday – Sunrise Service
At 7:00 a.m., in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, the Salt Lake Valley Combined Institute Choir will provide music for this Annual Sunrise Service. The speaker will be Elder James W. McConkie III of the Seventy.
July 24 – Days of ’47 Parade
9:00 a.m. marks the beginning of this colorful parade. Floats, bands, horses, clowns, and other entries that thrill thousands of spectators every year will once again perform their magic. Many families camp out on the streets the night before to ensure a great seat to catch it all the following morning. The parade starts at State Street and South Temple. We encourage you to be there for a wonderful morning of excitement and imaginative entries in this much-loved parade.
July 24 – Days of ’47 Rodeo –The only Gold Medal Rodeo in the World
The 2023 edition marks only the eighth time in the history of rodeo where riders will have an opportunity to compete for Gold, Silver, or Bronze Medals. Five of those times were the Days of ’47 Rodeo in 2017 – 2019 and 2021 – 2022.
This day marks the culmination of four days of rodeo competition with the best of the best competing for medals in the arena. This is a world-class rodeo at its best.
The Days of ’47 seek to make the accomplishments and hardships of our pioneer forefathers live today through a variety of activities and celebrations. We believe the example of past and present pioneers’ courage creates a vision for our combined future that everyone can follow as our new pioneer spirit!
For more information, see DaysOf47.com.