Utah celebrates first Mormon settlers during Pioneer Day

In this 2018 file photo, Washington City's cotton heritage is remembered on this float in the Pioneer Days Parade through downtown Washington City, Utah, July 24, 2018 | Photo by Ryan Rees, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Residents are gathering to celebrate Utah’s history and recognize pioneers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 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.

Hundreds of people camped outside Tuesday to stake out spots along the parade route in downtown Salt Lake City, as well as locations in Southern Utah.

Pioneer Day is so big, locals often refer to it as “the holiday.”

It marks the date in 1847 when Brigham Young and other Mormon pioneers, many pulling handcarts, ended their treacherous journey across the country from Illinois and discovered the Salt Lake Valley.

Many businesses and government offices close for the state holiday.

Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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