July 24 marks the annual “Days of ’47” festivities—more commonly referred to as Pioneer Days—celebrating the arrival of the first pioneer settlers to the greater Salt Lake Valley. The celebration also features Utah’s largest rodeo, from July 20-25, this year at West Valley City’s E Center. However, for many, July 24’s Parade Day is never complete without a visit to Liberty Park to celebrate the indigenous cultures that called Utah home long before Brigham Young declared this high desert to be “the place.”
The annual Native American Celebration in the park is designed to “educate and share the proud heritage of the Native American community to the world through music and dance, cultural displays, entertainment and the arts, both traditional and contemporary.” This free, daylong celebration features food and native crafts booths designed to reflect the entrepreneurial spirit, self-sufficiency and self-reliance of Utah’s original people.
Although the festivities are scheduled from sunup to sundown—starting with the big Pioneer Parade and culminating with fireworks—the big showdown is the 15th Annual Intertribal Competition Powwow. In addition to competing for honor and tribal pride through traditional music, dance and full-color regalia, winners can collect prize money for such categories as Fancy, Fancy Shawl, Grass, Jingle, Traditional and a winner-take-all drum contest in what is being promoted as Salt Lake City’s “hottest” powwow.