The Pioneer Day Celebration Saturday may be sponsored by the Duncan Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but make no mistake, it’s an event for the whole community, Seth Harris said.
Originally the Church created Pioneer Day celebrations to honor members of the church who settled the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, but in many communities it’s grown beyond that, said Harris, the activities chairman for the Duncan Stake.
“We don’t have exclusive rights to the word ‘pioneer,’” Harris said. “There are plenty of other people who have forged new trails. There are a lot of families who go way back in Greenlee County, families who were here before the Gadsden Purchase and this is a celebration of everyone’s heritage.”
Toward that end, organizers have come up with as many activities as they can that mirror those you would see in the mid-1850s, he said.
There will be a cherry spitting contest, corn hole tournament, three-legged races, wheel barrel races and a horse shoe tournament, to name a few. Someone is even setting up a trebuchet to toss melons.
Last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic, so people are really excited about this year’s, Harris said.
“We’re trying to make a bigger deal of it this year because, God willing, we’ve got the worst of COVID behind us,” Harris said. “We’re ramping up and getting to know each other again.”
People come from as far as Animas, Lordsburg and Rodeo, New Mexico for the event, he said.
In addition to all of the games, there will be consultants on hand for people interested in researching their family history, a pot luck dinner and a family dance.
Attendees are encouraged to wear pioneer dress.