Celebrating Pioneer Day across Washington County

Brett Barrett and Fox Barrett | Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY – On this 165th annual Pioneer Day, cities and towns across Washington County are pulling out all the stops to ensure both an educational and enjoyable day for all.

Pioneer Day is, as one could surmise from its name, a holiday commemorating the arrival of the first pioneers in Utah, on July 24, 1847. Despite strong ties to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all who settled in the state during the pioneer era of 1847-1869 are recognized. Countless Mormons and non-Mormons, both in Utah and around the world, participate each year through pioneer-related activities such as rodeos and historical re-enactments.

Though not federally recognized, Pioneer Day is an official holiday in Utah, resulting in the closure of many businesses and government offices. However, many of the cities and towns of Washington County are hosting a myriad of fun festivities to help pass the downtime.

Unless otherwise noted, all activities will take place on Tuesday, July 24.


Spread throughout the small city, this year’s Pioneer Day activities in Enterprise begin bright and early with a Fun Run at 7 a.m. After the parade on Main Street at 9, a talk on the roots of the holiday and the pioneers’ journey will be held at the stake center. Children’s games and vending booths will be open from 11 onward at the church park.


Hurricane residents can get an early start on the day by participating in a 5-kilometer run, which begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Community Center. Same-day registration is accepted for the non-competitive event, and the cost is donating two canned or boxed food items to Dixie Care and Share. Following is a breakfast hosted by the local chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.

Starting at 8:30 a.m., a colorful procession of cars, pedestrians and floats will make its way from Main Street to Hurricane High School. Afterwards, all are welcome at the Community Center for games and lunch from 9:30 a.m. to noon.


At 7 a.m., the Ivins Volunteer Fire Association will host a pancake breakfast at the city park for a small fee ($3 per person or $15 per family.) After the flag raising ceremony at 8 and parade at 9 a.m., celebrants can hop on board a bumper boat or inside a water walking ball or try their hand at the watermelon eating contest and baseball throw, all while enjoying live music and tasty local cooking. The festivities will wrap at 1 p.m.


There are no city events scheduled.

Santa Clara

There are no city events scheduled.


Entitled the “Pioneer Spectacular,” the celebration in Springdale kicks off at 8 a.m. with a softball tournament at the town ball field. After participants rest up, a “Kabob-a-Que” and games will be held at the Springdale Gazebo Park at 6 p.m. Featured are fresh-cooked beef, chicken and vegetable kabobs, along with Dutch oven-baked potatoes. The day’s events will culminate in a show at 8:15 p.m. inside the O.C. Tanner Amphitheatre featuring various types of entertainment.

St. George

There are no city events scheduled.


Toquerville will kick off festivities at 9 a.m. with a parade running from Ashcreek Drive to the town park. Once arriving, participants will be treated to a breakfast accompanied by music and games. To end the day will be a commemorative tree planting at 10:30, along with a presentation on the heritage of the town’s trees.


Despite a slimmed schedule, Virgin nonetheless offers meaningful activities for this year’s Pioneer Day. A children’s play, entitled “Home Grown” and written by Virgin resident Jeseka Amodt, will be held at 6 p.m., followed by a traditional potluck dinner at 7 p.m. Both events are taking place at the town park.

Washington City

Celebrations in Washington City begin at 7:30 a.m. with a flag ceremony and breakfast at Veterans’ Park. The parade, running from 300 East to 100 West Telegraph Street, starts at 9 a.m. and will be followed by entertainment, food and games for all ages, held once again at the park. At 9 p.m. will be a fireworks extravaganza at Community center Park, sponsored by Washington City.

“This is a family-friendly (holiday) and open to everyone,” said Troy Allen, Washington Stake representative for the LDS church. “We invite all to come and celebrate with us.”

In addition to city and church-run celebrations, many families enjoy Pioneer Day on their own with barbeques, pool parties and other summertime activities. Fireworks are also common, but must be used cautiously and in accordance with area-specific guidelines to avoid spoiling a day of fun.

However and wherever you celebrate Pioneer Day, it is most important to have a good time, stay safe, and remember the courageous journey of Utah’s early settlers who built the future of the state.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2012 St. George News.


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  • Jon July 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

    The parade in Washington was lame this year! I have never really seen a parade where they had so many Grand Marshalls! And the main body of the parade was kids from different churches. There was anything really with the history of Pioneer Days! Plus I still don’t understand clowns in a pioneer parade? So I think St George had the right idea by doing nothing for Pioneer Days!!!!

  • Mike H July 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I am actually at a loss with this state. I live in Ivins and I will admit I am a bit bugged by the city’s attitude about the holidays in July. They elected to do no city celebration for the 4th. Instead they have decided to concentrate on the 24th. Of course said party is over at 1pm while many of us are still at work. I do not understand this.
    While I get the whole “pioneer day” thing this is ultimately a religious holiday. This is where my problem with this type of celebration comes in. I am not LDS. I am however, an American. I would aver that close to 100% of the people who live in Ivins are Americans. (I have to allow for the possible illegals of course. psh) But I would guess less than 80% are LDS but we were denied a city celebration for our country’s anniversary because the city fathers would rather celebrate an LDS holiday, in effect alienating those of us who do not sit in that pew. Could we join in on this merriment? Yes. Are we excluded from the festivities? No. But that is not the point.
    I grew up in Utah and it wasn’t until the centennial approached and I saw all the fancy Delicate Arch license plates that I realized we did not become a state in 1847! shock and awe! How could this be?
    I have since lived in 3 other states and all of those states celebrated the day they became a state. Does Utah? Oh no, instead we celebrate when some dude said, “this is the place”.
    Well, LDS Utahns can cross their fingers and cast their votes for Romney and maybe he’ll make the 24th of July a National holiday.
    I’d like to take this time to appreciate Lightfoots for their 4th of Jul-Ivins celebration out at their gas station. Thanks to them Ivins residents were able to celebrate with a BBQ the anniversary of this great country’s birth.

    I’m curious how many residents in this state could say (without checking the interwebs) what day and year Utah became a state.

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