Bumblebees fly around the hive on this float entry.
July 24 is a state holiday in Utah - Pioneer Day. It commemorates the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake valley in 1847. Every summer, we celebrate the Days of '47 with concerts, fireworks, rodeos, barbecues, and parades. The Days of '47 parade is a long-standing tradition, and was first held in 1849. Each year, the public is invited to a free "preview party" to see the floats up close before they drive over the parade route on July 24.
The Horizon prepares to sail down the parade route.
Some of these floats are sponsored by businesses, and constructed by professionals. Most, however, are sponsored by church congregations and are designed and built by dedicated volunteers who attend a float making class and then spend hundreds of hours working on their floats. It can be a dreaded assignment in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: float committee chairperson. Yet each year, these members of the community pull off a Pioneer Day miracle and create amazing floats for all of us to enjoy.
Pony Express Rider
This year the theme for the parade is "Pioneers Pushing Toward Our Future." The preview party included entertainment, face painting, photos with the Days of '47 Royalty, and the chance to vote for the People's Choice Award winner. Here are some highlights from my visit to the 2014 Days of '47 Float Preview Party.
Float by the Salt Lake Hunter Copperhill Stake
This lovely float entry was beautiful in its simplicity. The theme was "Piecing Together Our Future." The float had puzzle pieces representing the values emphasized in the LDS Church's program for its Young Women (ages 12-18). These values are faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice & accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue. Young women dressed to represent various career fields stood on the float as well. This was one of my favorites.
Puzzle pieces representing the Young Women values.
This year's float preview had something for everyone: ships, dinosaurs, pioneers, and even snowmen in July.
My favorite snowman.
T-Rex pulling a handcart.
This T-Rex was a fan favorite with the children. It roared, opened its mouth, and moved its head.
Food was in plentiful supply on the floats this year, as was humor.
Passenger warnings for the Horizon.
How about some apples from a loving grandma?
And who could resist a giant pie?
The details on these floats are always amazing. This year I found the rabbits doing family history work particularly charming. As everyone knows, a bunny would have an extensive family tree.
Even the rabbits have gone digital for their family history research!
This robot graced the front of a float that also held a Fred Flintstone-esque character.
Loved the robot!
It was a tough choice to narrow down my favorite floats and cast my ballot this year .I decided to select from the floats created by the amateurs. I picked the float from the Sandy Utah East Stake. It had beautiful flowers and water, a temple, and a great message.
Drink from living water and thirst no more.
Another view of the Sandy Utah East Stake float.
Flower detail from this beautiful float.
Thanks to all of you amazing people who created these wonderful floats for all of us to enjoy! I salute you. The Float Preview Party is one of my favorite ways to kick off my Days of '47 celebration. I hope the tradition continues for many years to come!
Here's a link to my post from a previous float preview party: