This Pioneer Day, celebrations in Utah will allow members to celebrate the intrepid spirits of early Church members who migrated across the plains with the Vanguard Company and who trekked with the Mormon Battalion.
Pioneer Day Concert and Monument Dedication
On July 22 at 8:00 p.m., Deseret Book is sponsoring a Pioneer Day Concert at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. The theme of the concert is “Celebrating Our Collective Pioneer History” and celebrates the 175th anniversary of the Vanguard Company's arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.
The Vanguard Company was an enterprising band of pioneers who paved the way for thousands of wagons, handcarts, and footsteps to follow, blazing a path with their sweat and sacrifice. Some of the names on that first roster are familiar to us—Porter Rockwell, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and more. But many lesser-known pioneers invite us to dive deeper and discover more fully what roots us all to this place—Black enslaved pioneers like Green Flake, Hark Wales, and Oscar Smith.
Whether your ancestors were part of that first company, or your own family migrated more recently from foreign lands in hopes of finding welcoming arms, or your people’s lives and culture were forever impacted by the arrival of settlers from the east, that summer of 1847 marks a defining point in our collective history. No matter your story, Pioneer Day is for you, and this concert will celebrate your story.
The concert will feature live performances from the Bonner family, Alex Boyé, the Truman Brothers, Calee Reed, the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, and Dallyn Vail Bayles. For tickets, visit https://www.deseretbookpresents.com/.
Mormon Battalion Commemoration
Over the past year, the Mormon Battalion Association has enjoyed many events along the trail from Council Bluffs to San Diego to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Mormon Battalion's epic march to California.
To conclude the year-long celebration, the Mormon Battalion and Utah Living History Associations have teamed up for several events as part of the July 24 festivities in Salt Lake City. They will be the lead entry in the Days of ’47 parade on July 23, highlighting the detachments composed of about 213 soldiers, women, and children who entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 29, 1847.
Other free events will take place on Friday, July 22, including a “Living History Encampment” from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., featuring military exhibits and demonstrations. The encampment will be located at 325 State Rd. 138 in Stansbury Park, Utah.
A symposium with hourly presentations will take place at the Stansbury Park Stake Center at 417 Benson Rd. Topics will include Dr. Sanderson and 1840s medicine; the Mormon Battalion caravan; battalion women and military laundresses, mustering the Mormon Battalion, and more.
The celebration will come to a close with a concert at the Tabernacle at Temple Square on Sunday, July 24, at 7:00 pm.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson will be the guest speaker, followed by a live orchestra presentation of The Mormon Battalion: A Symphonic Saga, a 10-movement musical suite highlighting important locations and events along the trail.
The Mormon Battalion Association is also still looking for volunteers to march in the Days of ‘47 Parade with them. They are the lead entry in the parade representing the detachments who entered the valley on July 29, 1847—numbering about 136 soldiers and approximately 77 family members. Anyone interested in representing the soldiers, women, and children in the parade should email email@example.com for details. Children ages 8-13 will be riding in wagons.
A flyer with a full schedule of events from the Mormon Battalion Association is available here.
▶ You may also like: The Mormon Battalion: Recent discoveries help unravel mysteries after 175 years
For a more extensive list of Pioneer Day activities going on around the state of Utah, click here.