BOUNTIFUL - It takes a village to make Handcart Days.
The event, set for July 23-24 at Bountiful City Park, celebrates the pioneers with two days of games, food, fireworks, a parade, live music, activities and more. Approximately 1,200 volunteers come together to make all these activities happen, starting with the planning process that begins months in advance.
“It’s the volunteers that help make Handcart Days successful each year,” said Craig Smith, one of the committee chairs for this year’s festival. This is a community celebration that celebrates a wonderful community with a heritage that is worth remembering and honoring.”
The event kicks off with park activities, beginning at noon and running until 10 p.m. Musicians will perform from 1 p.m. to 4:40 p.m., including Mike Murphy and the cast of CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s upcoming production of “Peter Pan.” Activities will include a fish pond, face painting, a train ride and pioneer games.
The parade starts at 6 p.m., at the intersection of Main Street and 1500 South, where it travels north to 400 N. and then west to 100 W. The complete list of participating floats is available online at handcartdays.org/events/parade, and ham radio operator Gary Johnson will be the grand marshal.
Johnson has served as the parade’s communication specialist for several years, working to improve safety for everyone involved. He also helps the city with emergency preparedness.
“When asked to be our grand marshal, his first response was, “I know I try to be good, but I never thought I could be Grand,’” said Linette Smith, a member of the Handcart Days committee.
After the parade, there will be pioneer dancing with live music by the band Leapin’ Lulu. Fireworks will start at dusk in the skies above Mueller Park Jr. High. Park activities start right back up on July 24, running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There are also free historic tours on July 26 and 27 meant to guide residents through the city’s pioneer heritage. Bus tours of historical landmarks and walking tours of the Bountiful Tabernacle will run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Jul 26, with bus tours beginning on the hour and Tabernacle tours on the half-hour mark.
The last bus tour will begin at 1 p.m., and the last walking tour will begin at 1:30. For a complete schedule of tours, visit handcartdays.org/events/historical-tours.
On July 27, walking tours of early pioneer graves in Bountiful Memorial Park Cemetery will begin at 6:30 p.m. and run every 15 minutes until 8:30 p.m.
For those further north, Kaysville will be celebrating Pioneer Day with a community breakfast at 326 N. Main Street. Kaysville Recreation is one of the sponsors of the breakfast, which will include ham, eggs, pancakes and fruit. Each meal costs $5 for adults, $3 for children, and $20 for a family of up to six people.