Pioneer Day celebration at City Park Thursday
Ryan Summerlin July 22, 2014
Out-of-state visitors will get to experience a unique, family-oriented holiday Thursday Pioneer Day.
"It’s the state celebration of when the Mormon pioneers reached their goal here in Salt Lake City [in 1847]," said Park City resident Dave Rockwood.
"And of course they came through parts of Summit County," he added, "through Emigration Canyon."
Rockwood is the Pioneer Day Committee chairman for the Mormon church’s Park City Stake (made up of several "wards," similar to local parishes), which is putting on a Pioneer Day celebration at City Park from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The festivities will include an old-fashioned chicken dinner, music, games and more.
"The band is called Shades of Grey and they play kind of a country rockish, bluegrass — mountain music, that’s probably the better way to say it. Totally in tune with the pioneer, although there might be some classic rock thrown in there every now and again as well," Rockwood said.
"At about mid-time we start doing pioneer games," Rockwood said. "As the pioneers came across they didn’t have iPhones or iTunes or television so they played a lot of games to recreate, because what you need to remember is these were families coming across. So we play a lot of kids games that are from that era. And we have some cowboy poetry, some pioneer stories, and a children’s section where we’re doing some arts and crafts as well.
"Everybody is welcome and the dinner is free. Just show up and enjoy!"
The holiday has a particularly special meaning for Rockwood. He has ancestors who were part of that pioneering group that settled in Utah.
"My great-great-grandfather was in this group and was in the same wagon as Brigham Young," Rockwood said. "They were both sick together as they came down into the valley. His name is Albert Perry Rockwood."
Though Park City may not be the first place to come to mind when one thinks of Utah’s Mormons, Rockwood said it shouldn’t be overlooked.
"There’s actually been quite a history of Latter-day Saints in Park City," he said, "but the majority were, of course, miners and non-Mormons that were here, because at that time Brigham Young was not promoting the mining industry. He was more concerned with feeding people and establishing a settlement, so mining was probably the largest non-Mormon thing that happened both here [in Park City] and in Alta."
"As Park City has grown, the Park City Stake has grown as well," Rockwood added, "and I think it’s like-minded individuals who enjoy the lifestyle that we have in Park City, enjoy the school district, that sense of community and all the good things in Park City."
The Park City Pioneer Day Celebration is scheduled for Thursday, July 24, from 5-8:30 p.m. at the South Pavilion in City Park. Food, music, games, crafts and more will be available. All are welcome to attend the free celebration.