Pioneer Day at Heritage Park

As I mentioned last week, Will and I celebrated Pioneer Day (last Friday) at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. Even though Pioneer Day is old news, I thought I’d share some of the pictures with you.

We got there just in time to watch the parade which features all the pioneer actors from all over Heritage Village. It was a fairly short parade, which is ideal for keeping a 15-month-old entertained.

Pioneer Parade at Heritage Park

After the parade, we explored the village for a bit. They have a little petting zoo, so I took Will to see the sheep, goats, rabbits, and ponies. None of them were really in the mood to be petted by a toddler without any food, but Will enjoyed watching them. They also have a miniature village just for kids to play in, so I took Will there to run around for a bit.

Heritage Village tiny train

After Will had gotten all of his wiggles out crawling around the tiny village, we went to the pavilion (known as a bowery here in Utah– something it took me some time to figure out when I moved here) to watch the Native American dancing. This was by far my favorite part of the day. It was a pretty short show– only about 30 minutes (again, ideal for a 15-month-old)– but I was totally impressed. First of all, the performers were kids. Talented kids. Even the emcee couldn’t have been older than college age, but he was great. Second, it was educational. I learned more about Native American music, dancing, and ceremonial dress in those 30 minutes than I have in my entire lifetime. Third, with bright colors and loud drums, Will was thoroughly mesmerized. So what’s not to love?!

Native American Dancing at Heritage Park

Also, the ring dancer was AMAZING!

Ring Dance - Native American Dancing at Heritage Park

Lunch was the only part of the day that I didn’t really enjoy. Despite a pretty substantial snack during the parade, Will was already hungry by the time we got in line. But we still had to stand in line for at least 20 minutes and then wait for another 30 minutes to get our food! And by then, Will was hangry! And while we were waiting for our food, I had a bit of a sticky mishap. I had put my bottled soda in my purse so that Will would stop begging for it. But I guess the cap wasn’t on quite right because it slowly leaked all over everything in my purse. Including my camera! Luckily I had wrapped it in a scarf for protection from scratches, but since the leak was a slow one, the scarf absorbed most of the liquid so only the outside of my camera got a little damp and nothing on the inside got damaged. Everything in my purse was sticky and wet though, so I had to empty out everything in my purse and wipe it off right there at a table in the middle of a crowded, hot restaurant. Not one of my finest moments. I had actually packed a lot of absorbent stuff– diapers, a scarf for my camera, and a change of clothes for Will, so it could have been much worse. Even so, lunch was hardly a high point in the day.

By the time we were done with lunch, Will and I were both ready for naps. But I still wanted to explore, so Will and I hung out a while longer. We did a little shopping, and Will got a new hat. He was super tired at this point, so getting a decent picture of him in it was a challenge. This was the best I could do:

Heritage Park Sheriff William

And I couldn’t leave without stopping at Brigham Donuts! They deep fry these little mini donuts right in front of you while you stand in line and then coat them in cinnamon sugar and serve them to you still hot! They literally melt in your mouth! They say they’re made with a “secret ingredient” often used by the pioneers. I have no idea what the secret is, but they are delicious! It’s definitely not cowhide.

Brigham Donuts Heritage Park

Our last stop was at this flower wagon. I was kind of obsessed. I would have loved to get a perfectly posed, frame-able little picture of Will standing in front of the thing, but he was half asleep at that point, so even getting him to smile from the stroller was a little tricky.

Flower Wagon at Heritage Park

So there you have it– our Pioneer Day at Heritage Park. I definitely want to go back next year, and it’ll be even better then because Will will be a little older and Garrett will be here too so I won’t have to tackle the day solo again. Overall, though, I’d call it a success!




Happy Pioneer Day!

If you’re in Utah, today is a state holiday. If you’re not in Utah, you’re totally missing out! Today commemorates the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Since these pioneers were the first to settle the area which later became the state of Utah, it’s celebrated as a secular state holiday throughout Utah (and known to some as “Pie and Beer Day”), though naturally it holds plenty of religious significance as well. So in that way, it’s kind of like Christmas, right?! Maybe not quite, but still a good excuse to get off of work, watch a parade or two, and have some pioneer-themed fun!

Photo by Jon Toney (CC0)

All my life, I have loved all things pioneer-related– pioneer stories, the Oregon Trail computer game, the actual Oregon trail, camping in a covered wagon at summer camp, etc. So to get the best pioneer experience, I have decided to celebrate the holiday with Will at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. I’ll be sure to post some pictures next week!

For now, and in honor of Pioneer Day, here are some old-timey, westward-ho thoughts for your enjoyment:

  • Did you know that you can play the original DOS version of The Oregon Trail computer game online for free? Watch out for dysentery!
  • Watch the film 17 Miracles (available to stream on Netflix). It’s a little cheesy, but keep the tissues handy. It’s based on true events and sure to bring a tear or two to your eyes.
  • How cool would it be to stay here?!
  • Maybe this is old news, but studies show no evidence that the Donner Party actually ate each other. (whew! Because cannibalism is just gross.)
  • Last, but not least, have you ever considered yourself to be a pioneer? If not, this video may change your mind.

Happy Pioneer Day, everyone! Have a safe and blessed weekend!