NAVAJO & APACHE COUNTIES — A celebration of the past and the present and one of the most anticipated annual events are the Snowflake-Taylor Pioneer Days and the St. Johns Pioneer Days celebrations.

St. Johns resident of 60 years, Kevin Lee, is a descendent of one of the first families who came from Salt Lake City as a Mormon pioneer back in the mid 19th century. Lee said his family first settled in the Greer area, naming it Lee Valley. After some potato and vegetable farming in Nutrioso, they eventually settled in St. Johns and have been there since.

His family came “way back when the pioneers (LDS Church members under Brigham Young) came to the area an started doing things like building dams and irrigation ditches for farming after Hispanic peoples started settling the area years before that,” Lee said.

Lee said some of the first LDS pioneers went back to Utah almost immediately, telling Brigham Young that the area was inhospitable and people could not live there. But, Lee said, some stayed on, worked the land, and even when dams burst and times got hard they stayed and made St. Johns into the “great” community it is now.

That, he said, that is what Pioneer Days is all about.

Snowflake Pioneer Days events: ‘The Good Life’

Friday

The Silver Creek Little Theater and Dance Amor presents “Newsies” today and tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium with tickets $7-$10 at the door and $7-$8 if purchased presale by going to www.scltheater.org.

From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. people can tour pioneer homes free of charge.

From noon-5 p.m. is the Boutique and Quilt Show with a $2 admission fee; the Arts & Crafts Festival 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Frederickson Park, free admission.

One of the things that draws many to the annual celebration, the Snowflake Rodeo, taking place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Taylor Rodeo Grounds at $5 per person and kids 5 and under free.

Also at 7 p.m. is a melodrama, “The Villain’s Folly” or “Happiness is More Than Words” at the Social Hall at First North and First West.

Before that at 5 p.m. though is “Jerusalem,” a musical story of faith at the Snowflake High School Auditorium with a cost of $6 for adults, $3 for ages 16 and under.

Fireworks take place in two locations, the Taylor Rodeo Grounds and at Frederickson Park in Snowflake starting at 9 p.m.

Also at 9 p.m. are the Youth and Young Single Adult (ages 18-30) dances at the Pioneer Park Chapel on North Main Street. The Youth Dance is $2 and the Young Single Adult is free.

Saturday

Start the day off at 6 a.m. with the 10K or two-mile run/walk starting on Country Club Drive which will be followed at 10:30 a.m. with Kids’ Foot Races on the front lawn of the Main Street Chapel. The kids races are free.

The Annual Pioneer Days Parade, always a hit with everyone who attends, starts at 9 a.m. with Grand Marshals Carvel and Cleone Solomon leading the way. The parade begins at Ninth South and goes down Main Street. Float and parade check-in for entrants takes place at the Centennial Stake Center. It has been and may be a bit warm this weekend, so wet zones for the parade are between Fifth and Sixth South and between First and Second North.

After the parade at 11 a.m. is a barbecue at the Snowflake Social Hall at Center and First West with a per plate cost of $5 and will go until all the food is gone.

Family Pioneer Games will be from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on the front lawn of the Main Street Chapel at no cost to the public. At 10:30 a.m. is the Pioneer Program honoring Beth and Woody Peterson at the main LDS Chapel on Second West.

The ever-popular car show starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. at Frederickson Park and an Arts and Crafts Festival at the Snowflake Municipal Golf Course, two miles west of town on Highway 277 runs from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Snowflake Rodeo continues the action with local and professional events combined. Admission is $5, the competition begins at 7p.m. at the Taylor Rodeo Grounds.

Fireworks take place again tonight at 9 p.m. at the Taylor Rodeo Grounds.

The same time as the fireworks will be the Youth Dance in the Snowflake Main Street Chapel parking lot at First North and First West with a $2 admission and “appropriate” dress required, and the Young Single Adult Dance at Pioneer Park is also at 9 p.m. with free admission.

A Middle Single Adult Dance for people age 30-50+ takes place at the Stake Center at West Ninth South at 9 p.m. with a requested $2 donation.

And don’t forget other special treats during Pioneer Days like visiting historic pioneer homes that is free with any donations appreciated.

The Boutique and Quilt Show will be part of Saturday’s activities at the Academy Building at First South and Second West with a $2 adult admission and a $1 admission for kids 12 and under.

For more information check the Snowflake Pioneer days Facebook page.

St. Johns Pioneer Days: Friday

Today at 7 a.m. at the St. Johns Rodeo Grounds are roping events that include mutton busting, kids horse race, girls grocery race, boys grocery race, balloon race, calf riding, flag race, steer riding, pole bending, calf roping on foot, barrel racing chicken race, calf hide race, greased pig, ribbon roping, breakaway, keg race, Jr. and Sr. roping, wild cow milking, co-ed grocery race, calf roping, chute dogging, pole bending, barrel racing, pony express, money steer, bull riding and wild cow race, pick up race and rescue race.

At 10 a.m. at the rodeo grounds is the Senior Rodeo with a $10 per carload cost or a $3 per person cost of admission.

At 4:30 p.m. is a Camp Fire Circle at the St. Johns Airport with no cost. People are encouraged to bring their dinner and just get to know each other in the spirit of “Gather Together.”

Then at 8 p.m. tonight is a Family Dance at the County Fair Building (BUB) nearby to the rodeo grounds. Organizers ask that there be no tank tops, no bare midriffs and no mini-skirts or shorts. Cost is $5 per person or $20 for a family and kids age 4 and under free.

For more information about the dance contact Ryan and Marci Ashton at 928-245-4446, or John and Rachel Richardson at 928-245-4855.

Saturday

First on the bill of activities tomorrow, Saturday July 20, is a 5K or One Mile Run/Walk and Triathlon at the city park with registration from 5:45-6:25 a.m. and the races starting at 6:30 a.m. $10 entry fee.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. and is well-attended, so pick your spot early and bring plenty of water for the heat, and patience for the traffic afterwards.

At 5 p.m. is the Senior Rodeo at the St. Johns Rodeo Grounds for $10 per carload or $3 per person. It is sponsored by the St. Johns Rodeo Association.

From 5-7 p.m. in the city park will be a steak fry at $5 per person. Culinary fare includes steak, baked potato, salad, rolls and water. There will be free hot dogs for the kids with a dinner purchase. For more information on the Steak Fry contact Butch and Julie Nielsen at 928-245-6772, or Travis and Liz Heap at 928-551-4410.

Another Family Dance at the County Fair Building is offered tonight from 8-11:30 p.m.

For more information on the St. Johns Pioneer Days go to their Facebook page.

Reach the reporter at mleiby@wmicentral.com

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