Thousands gather for Ogden Pioneer Days parade

Thursday , July 24, 2014 - 5:48 PM

OGDEN — If city officials want Ogden to become a more walkable, vibrant community, July 24 must have been a dream scenario because the city’s main drag was about as walkable and vibrant as it gets.

Pedestrians and vehicles moved in harmony along Washington Boulevard Thursday as thousands of onlookers flooded city sidewalks to take in the grandeur of Ogden’s annual Pioneer Days Grand Parade.

Running through the heart of Ogden’s downtown, the parade route began at 30th street and moved north along Washington to 20th Street.

Parts of the parade felt like stepping into a time machine, with vintage police cars, farmers driving tractors and cowboys riding horseback, giving the parade a decidedly “olden days” feel.

But other parts felt oddly futuristic, like when Utah Rep. Rob Bishop meandered through, waving from the sun roof of a smart car. 

The usual characters were also there: bands, cheerleading squads and student body officers from local high schools, Miss Rodeo Ogden participants, veterans, city and county officials.

Ogden residents Sue Leishman and Blair Christensen watched the festivities near 24th Street, just a few blocks away from where they live.

"I haven’t been in five years, but I figured I’d come down and check it out,“ Leishman said. ”It’s a good time. It’s fun people-watching, I’ll tell you that.“

Christensen said he enjoyed the creativity many of the parade participants brought to the designs of their floats.

Marie Porter and Kathy Streble stood outside of their antiques and collectibles store, Past Life Collections, 2510 Washington Blvd., handing out small American flags.

The pair has owned the store since November and said the parade was a rare opportunity to showcase themselves.

"A lot of places are closed today, but we actually opened early,” Porter said. “When will you ever have another opportunity to have this many people walk by your business? We’re right on the parade route, so we figured we’d take advantage of that.”

Porter said hordes of new customers stopped at her store and told her they would return.

Porter and Streble weren’t the only business-minded people at the parade.

Several people took advantage of the large crowds by handing out fliers for their businesses. 

Ashley Abbott, who handed out fliers for a childcare service, was among of them.

"You have so many people just gathered in one location — it just makes sense,“ she said. ”Why not try and get the word out for your business?“

The parade, followed by the final day of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo and fireworks at Ogden Pioneer Stadium, concluded nearly two full weeks of Pioneer Days celebrations in Ogden.

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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