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Pioneer Day
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Some Pioneer Day traditions still happening around Utah, on a smaller scale

(Stock Image / fotoblend)

SALT LAKE CITY — Many pioneer day events had to be canceled during this pandemic year. But some of Utah’s smaller towns and cities have found ways where they hope they can still celebrate safely.

“Some of the older people in town, they can’t remember a year we didn’t have the celebrations,” said Hinckley town council member Chris Palmer, in Millard County. He counted celebrations going back to at least 1940.

Palmer says they went back and forth on whether they could still do anything year, and after working with their health department, they decided not to cancel.

“I think people will step up and distance themselves, and take the precautions necessary to protect themselves,” he said.

Small towns can balloon in size during the holiday week, as people usually return home for family reunions and high school reunions and their Pioneer Day traditions.

“It’s a huge part of Beaver City’s history,” said Beaver City manager Jason Brown. “We identify with the 24th of July here. Everybody takes a holiday that week.”

It’s the same in Panguitch. But their city manager Lori Talbot says this year’s celebration is smaller. The meals, kids games and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers program have all been canceled.

“We’ll still have our parade. ‘Proud to be an American’ is the theme this year, and we usually have quite a few floats,” she said.

Talbot said they’ve only had 3 people test positive for coronavirus in Panguitch, so they feel like they can gather, but still encourage everyone to do so safely.

Beaver will not have their annual parade but will have a rodeo. Spanish Fork is also planning on having their rodeo.

Brown says Beaver has hosted baseball and softball tournaments in the past few weeks and have done so safely, so they feel like they can celebrate safely this week, too.

“We love it, we love to celebrate our heritage and history, and hopefully we make memories that last forever,” he said.