2020 Days Of ’47 Parade, Activities Canceled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – All “Days of ’47” Pioneer Day Celebration activities have been canceled for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release from organizers.
Days of ’47 Board of Trustees President Lane Summerhays said the decision was not taken lightly and was made after thorough consideration from all applicable sources.
Among the annual events that will not take place this year were the Days of ’47 Parade, Rodeo, Pioneers of Progress Dinner, Sunrise Service, Royalty Pageant and Pops Concert.
“It is a huge tradition,” said Greg James, Days of ’47 executive vice president. “We haven’t canceled the parade since the First and Second World Wars. This is the first time in a long time that this has even been a consideration.”
Board officials also said although conditions may change between now and July, a deadline had to be imposed and a decision made due to the considerable work that would need to be done before Pioneer Day.
“You’ve got float builders who have to build floats. You’ve got stakes who participate in building floats, bands that have to rehearse,” said James.
With so many people packed in for the fun, the board did not see any way it could make social distancing work without risking lives.
“It’s just not worth the risk of assembling all of those people right now, putting them at risk, and then putting a larger crowd at risk,” said James.
The parade is the largest in the state of Utah and was slated for 9 a.m. on July 24. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were also scheduled to start that same day, until officials announced they would be postponed to 2021.
Longtime KSL TV anchor Deanie Wimmer grew up enjoying the Days of ’47 traditions and has hosted the parade for more than a decade.
“It has just been kind of the quintessential celebration of our state,” said Wimmer. “So it was disappointing. I understand the reasons, obviously, but it was just one of the rites of summer.”
KSL TV parade coverage is one of the most-watched TV programs in Utah every year. Wimmer said she especially appreciates the creativity, hard work and inclusiveness that goes into the parade.
“You see entries from different churches and different businesses,” she said. “You’ll have young people in marching bands, older people in vintage cars, horses…a nod to every one of our bits of history.”
Families were invited to “bring the kids, the sleeping bags and the hot dogs downtown” the night before the parade. Camping out to reserve a spot along the parade route has been a tradition among Utahns for years, although there would have been some restrictions.
The annual Deseret News Marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k races also held on July 24, will also be canceled this year.
“Based on the coronavirus and the desire to keep runners and the public safe, we need to cancel the races this year,” said Mike Todd, CFO and associate publisher of the Deseret News and race organizer. “Our desire is to give the runners an option to get a refund of their entry fee or defer their entry fee to next year’s races.”
Those who signed up will receive an email this week informing them of what actions they need to take for a refund.
Organizers said they are now looking forward to 2021.
“We’ll do something special next year,” said James. “I don’t know what it will be, but we’ll do something fun.”
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