ST. GEORGE — A free Pioneer Day celebration by entertainment legend Merrill Osmond of The Osmond Brothers will feature a pioneer-themed pageant and fireworks show July 24 at the Legend Solar Stadium in St. George.
The newly dubbed “Pioneer Legacy & Firework Celebration” previously debuted in West Jordan in 2012. The show, produced in cooperation with Days of ’47 Dixie, has been updated considerably for its Southern Utah debut, celebrating the pioneers who settled Utah’s Dixie, as well as the contributions of several other cultures.
See video in the media player top of this report.
The production includes reenactments of Catholic missionary colonizers, Greek and Italian pioneers, Chinese, Jewish and Mormon settlers, as well as Native Americans, showcasing the region’s history.
“While the Mormon pioneers are a huge part of Utah’s history, this production is non-denominational and celebrates all pioneers who made the trek to Southern Utah and sacrificed so much for what we enjoy today,” Merrill Osmond said in a news release.
More than 150 youth from Vista Charter School represent the production’s main actors. Wagons, handcarts, tepees, the Flying Rocket Man, local entertainment, special guests and a massive firework display highlight the performance.
Merrill Osmond and his son, Justin Osmond, originally pitched the idea to the St. George City Council and surrounding communities in January, requesting monetary contributions to allow the show to be put on free of charge to attendees.
The production also received funding assistance from various sponsors, including Canyon Media, Albertsons, Camping World, Intermountain Audiology and Safari Hospitality.
“This is not a moneymaker for us, for our family,” Justin Osmond said when he and his father originally pitched the idea to the St. George City Council.
“We believe this is an annuity that could go on forever. If we do it right, people will continue to come, and this could be a mainstay for St. George.” Merrill Osmond said in the council meeting.
Merrill Osmond has been involved in producing large-scale entertainment productions for around 40 years, including Provo’s massive “Stadium of Fire” Independence Day fireworks show.
“When I started Stadium of Fire, everyone thought I was crazy putting music to fireworks … You look at it today, it’s as big as it could ever get,” Merrill Osmond said previously of the Provo-based fireworks show.
Proceeds from the show will benefit the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund to provide hearing technology from Intermountain Audiology to three deaf children from the Washington County School District. In previous years, the pioneer production raised more than $100,000 toward the hearing fund, which was established in 2010 by Justin Osmond. Since its inception, the foundation has helped more than 3,000 children with hearing loss.
The 2017 “Pioneer Legacy Award” will be presented during the show to the Atkin family, whose ancestors, William and Rachel Atkin, settled on 160 acres of uninhabited land they named Atkinville, the present day location of SunRiver, in honor of their pioneer heritage.
- What: “The Pioneer Legacy & Firework Celebration.”
- When: July 24. Gates open at 6:30 p.m.; pre-show starts at 8:15 p.m.
- Where: Legend Solar Stadium, 500 S. 700 East, St. George.
- Cost: Free.
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