Utah celebrates first settlers during Pioneer Day

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Residents are gathering to celebrate Utah’s history and recognize early pioneers 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.

Pioneer Day is so big, locals often refer to it as “the holiday.” It marks the date in 1847 when Brigham Young and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 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.

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