Sunday, July 22, 2012

Utah's Top Two 24th of July Holiday Celebrations Cleverly Compared and Contrasted

Not all Utah 24th of July celebrations are cut from the same green Jell-O mold, pardners.

We'll highlight a couple of morning Standard-Examiner articles with a unique slant.  The S-E's Beckey Cairns has done the reportorial footwork to put together these two stories, cleverly contrasting and comparing Utah's top two 24th of July holiday celebrations.  Not all Utah 24th of July celebrations are "cut from the same green Jell-O mold, pardners":
Not exactly the kind of red meat political fodder you'll usually find on Weber County Forum, but nevertheless interesting, informative and creative, we thought.

So what about it, WCF readers; what are your plans for our unique late July Utah holiday, wherein we honor our proud pioneer legacy and western tradition?


Marco said...

 I'm not quite sure what I'll do to celebrate Pioneer Day, but I'm pretty sure adult beverages will be involved.

OneWhoKnows2 said...

Diddo and maybe a goatman BBQ?

Bob Becker said...

Despite living here now a decade, have to say Pioneer Day still does not feel like "my" holiday the way, say, July 4th does. Last year, as I recall, there was a good article in the SLTrib, which triggered a long discussion thread that actually had some substantive give and take well beyond the Mormon Haters vs. True Believers meme which all too often dominates SLTrib threads. The article discussed parade organizers in SLC actively looking for ways to make the parade in particular, and the celebration in general, one for all Utahns, not just a Mormon parade/celebration.  A celebration of the settlement of what would be the state of Utah, so to speak, not exclusively a celebration of the establishment of Zion.

I recall commenting that while I approved of those efforts, and thought them a good idea, the fact was Pioneer Day didn't feel like a holiday for me [me not being LDS] when I arrived, and it still doesn't today.   It still feels very much like an Mormon celebration for Mormon Uthans, and only peripherally, if at all, a broader "Founders Day" celebration for all Utahns.

Not sure that's fixable in the short term [half a century], and before anyone pounces, no, I'm not suggesting in any way that the celebration be entirely secular.  Ignoring the LDS origins of the settlement of Utah would be (a) profoundly a-historical and (b) wrong. Make no more sense than ignoring the role of religion in the founding of Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay.  The problem is how to broaden the Pioneer Day celebration beyond that in the way Thanksgiving Day has ceased being just about the establishment of the Puritan's City Upon A Hill in the new world, and I don't think anyone's figured out, in a practical way, how to do that yet.  

PS  Let me also add that no LDS colleague or neighbor or friend has ever suggested to me, explicitly or implicitly, by word or deed, that Pioneer Day is "not for non-Mormons."   Nevertheless, that's how it still feels to me, ten years into being a resident of the Beehive State.

rudizink said...

From the first above-linked SE story:  "While Salt Lake City festivities focused on pioneers arriving before the
coming of the railroad in 1869, [Harmon] Peery designed Ogden’s activities to
focus on all of the pioneers settling the state before and after that
time, from the American Indians to the Chinese railroad workers, says
grandson Robert Peery King of Ogden."

I think the Ogden version stays fairly true to former Mayor Peery's vision, Bob.   A big element of the Ogden event is also  "western American culture," of course, which is only a minor facet of SLC's Days of '47 celebration.

And I also agree with you.  In Utah, the 4th of July is one of the most sadly underplayed holidays in the official Utah holiday calender.

Val Holley said...

I see progress. You're now spelling Utahn correctly.

Bob Becker said...

It's my Sierra Club training: conservation in all things.  If you can save a letter, save it. 

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