What is Pioneer Day?

This day commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. The Mormon pioneers viewed their arrival as the founding of a Mormon homeland, hence Pioneer Day. The Mormons, as they were commonly known, left their settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois, and journeyed west seeking refuge from religious persecution. The final impetus for their trek was the murder of founder and prophet Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844.

Determined to settle in an isolated region, the pioneers made their way across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains to Utah. They lost many of their party to disease during the winter months. By the time that they reached Utah, the desolate valley was a welcome sight. Potatoes and turnips were soon planted, and a dam was built. With solemn ceremonies, the settlers consecrated the two-square-mile city, and sent back word that the “promised land” was found. By the end of 1847, nearly 2000 Mormons settled in the Salt Lake Valley. The first Pioneer Day was celebrated in 1849 with a parade, band music and speeches. In modern times July 24 is celebrated annually as Pioneer Day, a state holiday, in Utah.

Pioneer Day is a public holiday in Utah, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.


Brigham Young Park: July 26, 7:30 p.m., “Embracing Our Scottish Pioneer Heritage” with Utah Pipe Band (churchofjesuschrist.org/events)

Church History Museum: July 19, 5-9 p.m., Pioneer Fair and Bowery Dance (templesquare.com/events)

Cottonwood Heights: Butlerville Days, July 26, 4 p.m., festivities and carnival at Butler Park followed by movie in the park; July 27, 11 a.m., parade followed by festivities, carnival, car show and fireworks at dark (cottonwoodheights.utah.gov)

Draper: Draper Days, July 19, 5 p.m., festivities at city park; 7 p.m., Mike DelGuidice and Big Show concert at park and horse pull at Ballard Arena; July 20, 7 a.m., races at park; 9 a.m., parade, car show and festivities; 7 p.m., Human Nature and Gillia concert; 10 p.m., fireworks (draper.ut.us)

Daughters of Utah Pioneers Memorial Museum: Pioneer Day Open House, July 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (dupinternational.org)

The Leonardo: Pioneer Day activities at the museum, July 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $9.95-$12.95 (801-531-9800 or theleonardo.org)

Liberty Park: Native American Celebration in the Park, July 24, noon, Grand Entry and entertainment and festivities (nacippowwow.wixsite.com/nacippowwowfestival)

Liberty Park: July 24, fireworks at dark (slc.gov/events)

Red Butte Garden: Pioneer Day, July 24, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., free admission (801-585-0556 or redbuttegarden.org)

Salt Lake City: Days of ’47 Rodeo and games, July 19-24, 8 p.m., Utah State Fair Park; July 20, 7 a.m., First Encampment Hike; July 22-23, 11 a.m., Float Preview Party at Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy; July 24, times vary, Deseret News marathon at various locations; 7 a.m., Sunrise Service at Assembly Hall on Temple Square; 9 a.m., parade (801-257-7959 or daysof47.com)

Sandy: July 20, 8 p.m, Real Salt Lake vs. Minnestoa United at Rio Tinto Stadium, followed by fireworks (rsl.com)

Smith’s Ballpark: July 23-24, 6:35 p.m., Salt Lake Bees vs. Albuquerque, fireworks after games (milb.com/salt-lake/tickets/promotions)

Temple Square: July 19-20, 8 p.m., Sissel with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square at Conference Center, tickets have been distributed, standby line will form by Tabernacle flagpole; livestreamed July 20, 8 p.m. at thetabernaclechoir.org and BYUtv (thetabernaclechoir.org)

This Is The Place Heritage Park: July 20, 10 a.m., SUPer DUPer Day; and July 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Pioneer Day festivities (801-582-1847 or thisistheplace.org)

Have fun and stay safe!