Well the 24th of July has always held a place in my heart. When I was little my Dad used to bring us up to watch the parade in Salt Lake because either Jan was in it or he would have to drive the Miss Lehi float. We always loved it. Two times stand out the most in my mind:
#1 One time we were in Pioneer Park having breakfast(cherrios)and a homeless man came up and asked for food. My dad wasn't with us because he was already in line in the parade and my mom was brave and gracious and gave him all our left overs. It was scary and fun at the same time.
#2 Was 15 years later when two return missionaries, Mike Johnson and a certain gorgeous Joel Beckstrand, came to the parade with our family. I am pretty sure that was also the first day we held hands. :)
20 years ago I had my first Pioneer Day breakfast in the Vernon Worthen Park in St. George. The St. George East Stake always puts on a huge free pancake, ham and eggs breakfast. So that became our first tradition as a married couple.
Now that I am in Washington I have a another tradition. Our Stake (Washington Utah) always has a parade and carnival for the entire city. It was weird when I first heard that it was just our stake doing it but come to find out that it is a huge fund raiser and the kids love it and look forward to it every year.
When I was growing up in Lehi we would always have floats in our parades. Real floats. With pompoms, glitter, foam, floral sheeting, fringe, plastic paper and all the bells and whistles. So I was surprised when I saw Washington's idea of a float. A flat bed with kids in some costume just sitting. Maybe a prop or two and there would always be a sign so you would know what the heck they were supposed to be. Well, needless to say at first I was surprised that their would be a place would think that was ok. But I have come to learn that it's not about the looks. It's all about the kids just being in it. So, I now hold this po-dunk parade in a special place in my heart.
Our ward had a trailer pulled by a truck that was papered to look like a boat and it was by far the most "float" like I've seen in our little parade. My boys were on the trailer holding fishing poles and our sign said, "Hooked on our Heritage. Fishing for our Ancestors." It was darling. The Primary Presidency was dressed up and they all had gummy worms tied to the end of every pole. Josh rode his unicycle while holding his fishing rod. It was impressive.
This year Jan's ward primary did a Kazoo Band. It was awesome! She bought a whole bunch of nice kazoo's and led them with pride marching down the parade route in 100 degree weather. They played "pioneer children" which ended up sounding like a mass of mad bees. It was awesome!
After the parade we all went down to the carnival. Our Youth were in charge of the face painting booth. Sophie had a great time and they were busy from 10am to 2pm. Jan and I took the boys around to play some games and win some prizes. They did a little golf game, football throw, ring toss and participated in the races. It was a lot of fun but 112 degrees by noon. Jan left and took the boys home and I went over to help out with the face painting.
Later that evening for dinner we got KFC and went to the Hidden Valley Splash Park. The boys had more fun running through the sprinklers. It was a long but fun day!