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Utah Pioneer Days

Aug 06, 2015 10:21AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Pioneer Days

By Crystal Couch

West Jordan - On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young and a group of Mormon settlers made entry into the Salt Lake Valley by handcart.  They were being forced from the eastern United States shortly following the death of Joseph Smith, after continued violence from non-Mormons. The story of this trek is full of tragedy and the power of the human spirit and is extremely inspiring. Each year in Utah, since 1857, Utahns have celebrated the entry of these pioneers into the valley, and in present day we commemorate it with fireworks, parades and re-enactments. 

For two nights the Youth Pioneer Production will present to you and your family the story of these original settlers with dance, music and live animals at the West Jordan Arena. Sharon Kerkman has attended in previous years with her two sisters-in-law and plans on making it again this year. Their re-enactment “brings home the struggles and the outcome of coming across Utah, setting up life here,” Kerkman said. “I like the show; it’s very well done, and I enjoy going every year. It’s a great way to spend time with family.”

As you sit on a blanket underneath the stars, enjoying cuisine from several food vendors, you can watch this inspiring tale come to life. They begin each evening of July 23 and 24 with a pre-show that differs each night but is guaranteed to be for the entire family. There will be a variety of singers as well as skydivers, and following the re-enactment, there will be fireworks at 10 p.m. that will light the entire valley.

Merrill Osmond, who may be best known as one of the original members of the Osmond Brothers, started formulating the idea for this production close to 30 years ago. The play was first brought to life in Draper in 1987, where it drew up to 15,000 spectators. The Merrill Osmond Youth Pioneer Production is now a cast of 100 plus youth who audition for their parts prior to the yearly production, which is open to the public youth to take part in. 

Proceeds from the Utah Pioneer Days benefits local deaf and hard-of-hearing children with the gift of hearing thru the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund; they have already provided more than $175,000 worth of hearing aids and services to local children through the proceeds directly associated with the Utah Pioneer Days events. The story of how this foundation is formed is touching. Olive Osmond is the mother of the Osmond clan, and when two of her children were born with hearing loss and their family could not afford hearing aids, the other four children joined a barbershop quartet to raise enough funds. This is also how the Osmonds began their singing careers and the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund commenced.  

For more about the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, visit: www.hearingfund.org.

For more information about Utah Pioneer Days, visit www.utahpioneerdays.com.  

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