Utah recognizes early settlers during Pioneer Day

People pull handcarts during the Pioneer Day Parade, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Salt Lake City. People in Utah are gathering to celebrate the state's history and recognize early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint pioneers who trekked West in search of religious freedom. Pioneer Day is a beloved only-in-Utah holiday every July 24 that features parades, rodeos, fireworks and more. The festivities were canceled last year because of the pandemic.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — People in Utah are gathering to celebrate the state’s history and recognize early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint pioneers who trekked west in search of religious freedom.

Pioneer Day is a beloved only-in-Utah holiday every July 24 that features parades, rodeos, fireworks and more. The festivities were canceled last year because of the pandemic.

Hundreds of people on Friday camped and staked out spots along the parade route in downtown Salt Lake City.

Pioneer Day marks the date in 1847 when Brigham Young and other church pioneers, many pulling handcarts, ended their treacherous journey across the country from Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley.

Many businesses and government offices close for the state holiday.

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