Estimated 25,000 people pack streets of St. Anthony for Pioneer Day celebration
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SAINT ANTHONY – The streets of St. Anthony were packed Saturday as throngs of people gathered for the annual Pioneer Day celebration.
Danny Elliott, chairman of the Pioneer Days board, tells EastIdahoNews.com the celebration brought an estimated 25,000 people for the festivities.
“They are from all over the country. We have people that plan family reunions around this. We have class reunions going on right now,” Elliott says. “If they grew up in this community and participated in it growing up, then it seems like they plan their summer vacations around that activity so they can come back and enjoy it.”
The theme for this year’s event was “The Road to Happiness.” The day kicked off with a 5K run and bake sale Saturday morning. The parade started at 10:30 and featured floats decorated by congregations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The community presented a live musical production of “Guys and Dolls” at South Fremont High School.
“There was a woman here (several years ago) who had been to plays all over the world. And she said (the plays performed at this celebration) is as good a play as I’ve ever been too,” says Elliott.
The celebration will culminate Saturday night with a rodeo at 7 p.m.
The Classic car and hot rod show is another big draw for the event. Bob Bauer, who runs the car show, says 55 different cars were on display this year. People from out of state were there to showcase original or newly restored classic cars.
“It’s so diversified,” Bauer says. “The car show is my thing and it always will be and hopefully 50 years from now, some of these cars will still be here.”
The oldest model on display dated back to 1928. The newest model was a 2010 Ferrari. Three different trophies were presented, including one for Best of show, one for People’s choice and the drivers got to vote for their pick as well.
Elliott says the same level of quality from the parade to the rodeo remains consistent year after year.
“The different committee members, the board members, they’re each doing their individual jobs. They are just fantastic, and I just step back and let them do their thing. They are just amazing,” he says.
The Pioneer Day celebration is an annual event that commemorates the sacrifice of the early pioneers who settled the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Groups of Latter-day Saints later established settlements throughout the Snake River Plain, including St. Anthony. The city has celebrated the accomplishments of their pioneer forbearers since 1929.
“It’s just a fun family outing that makes you smile,” Elliott says. “It makes me very proud of my pioneer heritage. It makes me really stop and step back and think about the sacrifices that were made.”
The occasion is widely celebrated by LDS church members. But Elliott says you don’t have to be a member of the church to appreciate the sacrifice of those who came before to make St. Anthony and eastern Idaho a place to call home.
“We’re celebrating something that is really neat and really special and we can rub shoulders and be friends and share different religions,” he says.