Photos: Pioneer Day parade marches on

The Days of ′47 Parade has only been canceled a few times in its history: during the Great Depression, during World War II — and during the coronavirus pandemic.

After a year off because of the pandemic, the Days of ‘47 Parade returned Friday. The event, which draws thousands of spectators each year, featured musical performances, colorful floats, horses and a variety of other entires. Many viewers camp along the parade route to secure prime seats for the festivities.

While the parade commemorates the Latter-day Saint pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, it is also a celebration of “pioneer spirit,” whether exhibited by LDS pioneers, other historical figures or modern-day Utahns.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Benjamin Fuller, 10 and Eve Oldham, 9 ride in the Draper Stake's "Maid of Iowa" float, in the Days of '47 Parade with the Sons of the Utah Pioneers, in Salt Lake City, on Friday, July 23, 2021.

“[The pioneers] were tenacious and faithful and had vision,” said Greg James, media representative of the Days of ‘47 Committee. “Those principles make the world better today.”

James said he believes this year’s parade will bring comfort to viewers after a difficult year. For him, this return to tradition has been a “relief,” and he hopes that the event “helps everybody’s psyche amid all the challenges we’ve been having.”

Before 2020, the parade had only missed four years out of its 90-year run, according to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers website. Days of ‘47, which used to be known as “Covered Wagon Days,” was canceled from 1932 to 1934 during the Great Depression, then again in 1943 due to wartime gas rationing.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sister missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake Temple Mission, cheer for entries in the Days of '47 Parade, in Salt Lake City, on Friday, July 23, 2021.

The Days of ’47 Committee has been working with the Salt Lake County health department since January to ensure that the event will be safe for the Salt Lake community. “If you aren’t vaccinated, mask up, and if you have symptoms [of COVID-19], don’t come to the parade,” said James.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Draper Stake's "Maid of Iowa" float, in the Days of '47 Parade, in Salt Lake City, on Friday, July 23, 2021.

Meanwhile, the 27th annual Native American Celebration in the Park Powwow and Festival celebrated Indigenous culture through song, dance and drums. The event at Liberty Park also featured food booths, arts and crafts, and entertainment for all, according to the festival’s website.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dalena Serawalk helps eight-year-old daughter, Jorja Taveavont from Fort Duchesne, with her costume, during the Native American celebration and Powwow at Liberty Park, on Friday, July 23, 2021.