Free Pioneer Day celebration to celebrate Dixie legacy with music, fireworks

This 2017 file photo shows actors performing in "The Pioneer Legacy," a production of Merrill Osmond about the history of Mormon settlers in Southern Utah, St. George, Utah, July 24, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Merrill Osmond is excited to bring back “The Pioneer Legacy and Firework Celebration” to Southern Utah on July 24. Held in partnership with Dixie State University, this year’s free celebration will be held at Trailblazer Stadium, with gates opening at 6:30 p.m.

File photo shows actors performing as fireworks blast off in “The Pioneer Legacy,” a production of Merrill Osmond about the history of trailblazers in Southern Utah, St. George, Utah, July 24, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Before the youth musical production begins, there will be a preshow of great entertainment, skydivers, a tribute to the military armed forces and many more fun surprises. There will also be a special presentation providing two local deaf individuals with the gift of hearing.

The Pioneer Legacy and Firework Celebration is based on Merrill’s strong belief that today’s youth are the hope and future of tomorrow. Wagons, handcarts, tepees, local entertainment, special guests and one of the largest firework displays in the valley will delight all in attendance.

Through song and dance, this year’s production features more than 100 youth and celebrates the journey and sacrifice of the Dixie trailblazers and their attempt to settle the untamed expanse of Southern Utah. Reenactments of Catholic missionary colonizers, Greek and Italian pioneers and Chinese, Jewish and Mormon settlers, as well as Native Americans will showcase Utah’s history.

“While the Mormon pioneers are a huge part of Utah’s history, this production is non-denominational and celebrates all pioneers who made the trek to southern Utah and sacrificed so much for what we enjoy today,” Merrill Osmond said in a press release for the event.

This year’s Youth Pioneer Production features original music written by Merrill Osmond, Sam Cardon, Cliff Maag and Sam Payne.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as gates open at 6:30 p.m. but seating will be first come, first served. Seating will be available in both the east and west grandstands, as well as on the field. Patrons are asked not to bring chairs, coolers or outside food, but they are encouraged to bring blankets and plenty of water. Concessions will be available for purchase.

“You do not want to miss the fireworks,” Merrill Osmond’s son Justin told St. George News. “It’s all orchestrated with the music throughout the whole show, and then put on your seat belt at the end, as you’ll witness one of the best firework displays in southern Utah!”

Proceeds from this charity-based event will go to the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund and the Osmond Center for Arts and Production, which is under the DSU College of the Arts.

This year, event organizers will provide two local deaf individuals from Washington County with the gift of hearing thanks to Sound of Life Foundation, one of the event sponsors. Over the years, the Youth Pioneer Production has raised more than $110,000 to help local children hear life’s precious sounds. The Olive Osmond Hearing Fund was established in 2010 by Justin Osmond. Since its inception, the foundation has helped more than 3,000 children with hearing loss.

In the press release from event organizers, they expressed gratitude to their title sponsors: Canyon Media, SkyWest Airlines, Tuacahn, Larry H. Miller Foundation, Camping World, Sound of Life Foundation and Washington County Tourism.

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  • Travis July 17, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Don’t forget a trip to Mountain Meadows and Hildale, Utah!

    • comments July 17, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      They ought to just move the whole celebration up to mountain meadows. It’s way too quiet up there… spooky quiet even. Need a little mormon pioneer party to liven it up. I’ll bring up my mountain meadows commemorative rifle. Love to show that thing off every pioneer day celebration 😉

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