Utahns celebrate pioneer heritage at annual Pioneer Day parade

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SALT LAKE CITY — 170 years ago, pioneers arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley. On Monday, Utahns honored their pioneer heritage at the annual Days of '47 parade.

Thousands packed downtown Salt Lake City. Many staked out the perfect spot 24 hours earlier in order to get a front row seat to the parade.

“We come down every year and get a spot. Sit out all day long," said Michelle, a Salt Lake City resident.

Over the years, families have added more space to watch the festivities.

“They do like 4 trees now we take up 3/4ths of the block. So everyone kept inviting and inviting and it just got bigger and bigger,” said Reno Mahe, Lehi resident.

The 2017 parade theme was "Visions of a New Horizon."

The route started at State Street at South Temple and weaved its way through downtown Salt Lake City, ending in Liberty Park.

Participants paid tribute to Utah’s pioneer heritage and celebrated their journey into the future. From marching bands, motorcycle cops, horses, military members, and royalty to dozens of beautiful, and colorful floats.

There were special appearances from various civic and religious leaders including Governor Gary Herbert and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' First Presidency.

Clowns kept the crowd entertained, which was a big hit with spectators of all ages.

Once the parade ended, the mad dash to pack up and leave began.

The Lamb family from Magna took down their tents and camping equipment. Cleanup always takes longer than setting up, but they’re lucky they have 7 grandkids to help.

A lot of helping hands will have to pitch in and clean up the parade route left littered with trash. It’s a group effort many say they’ll gladly do in order to keep the Pioneer Day tradition alive.

Parade organizers say every year people know the drill and for the most part are respectful of the homes and businesses surrounding the parade route and do a good job of cleaning up.

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