News Release

Elder Rasband Serves as Grand Marshal in the Days of ’47 Parade Honoring Pioneers

Latter-day Saints dedicated hundreds of hours creating floats celebrating Utah's pioneer heritage


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By Megan McKellar, Church News

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake Valley volunteered hundreds of hours this year to create floats that celebrate the pioneer heritage of Utah as part of the Days of ’47 parade.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who was the parade’s grand marshal, led the parade in a classic red Mustang with his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, and other family members.

More than a dozen local stakes prepared floats for the annual parade, held on the streets of downtown Salt Lake City.

Members of the participating stakes got creative as they designed and created floats to reflect the theme of the Days of ’47 celebration this year: “Pioneer Spirit – Alive Today!”
Each float reflected a unique interpretation of the theme, from honoring pioneer women, to paying tribute to the Church’s humanitarian program, to a depiction of a riverboat that was integral to the growth of Nauvoo, along the Mississippi River, in the early days of the Church.

The Midvale Utah Stake’s float featured two giant papier-mâché puppets, a design that was deliberately chosen to symbolize how to keep traditions alive.

“Just as puppeteers bring breath and movement and life to puppets — if we’re going to keep the pioneer spirit alive, we have to breathe breath into traditions with movement today,” explained Chad Erekson, a member of the Midvale Utah Stake.

The Salt Lake Granite Stake chose to pay homage to past and present pioneer spirit by creating a scale model of the Salt Lake Temple. One end of the float is a representation of the original construction of the temple, and the other reflects the ongoing temple renovations.

Darrell Newbold, a member of the Nibley Park Ward and the float’s architect, hopes that when parade viewers see the float, “they have a testimony of the temple, of what goes on in it and how the pioneers brought it forth. … The pioneer spirit is still living because of what they did.”

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