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Youth pageant offers unique retelling of pioneer history

Wednesday, June 19, 20133479 views

Its time for Utahns to reconnect with their pioneer heritage.

On July 22-24, the Merrill Osmond Youth Pioneer Pageant will return to the West Jordan Arena as part of the 2013 Utah Pioneer Days Celebration. Tickets are now on sale for $8-$15 at utahpioneerdays.com.

We almost feel in the state of Utah that were starting to lose a little bit of the grasp of why were here, Justin Osmond said. If it werent for our wonderful ancestors and pioneers, we wouldnt be here in this beautiful valley. We want to commemorate, to dedicate, to celebrate their sacrifice and the legacy they left for us to enjoy.

In the early 1980s, Merrill Osmond began writing the highly-acclaimed pageant with the help of Sam Cardon and Cliff Maag. In 1987, the production was unveiled in his hometown of Draper to a crowd of more than 12,000 spectators. Since then, it has been shared across the country with thousands of audiences.

As kids, Justin Osmond and his brother Shane enjoyed performing in the pageant. Now they work as co-producers of the production, passing on their love and appreciation for Utahs pioneers to the rising generation. Shane Osmond said its nostalgic for him to see his own children among those participating in the show.

I truly believe that the 24th of July is a huge celebration in Utah, he said. I think a lot of the youth are forgetting what needed to happen for this valley to be settled. This really helps restore that history.

Using music, dance and fireworks because its not an Osmond show without fireworks the pageant chronicles the unique history of Utahs diverse pioneer ancestors.

Its going to be an emotional high and low, depicting the sorrows and sacrifices these guys went through, Justin Osmond said. Its non-denominational. It tells the story of the Catholics, Mormons, South Pacific Islandersso many people came here from all over the world.

The Osmonds promise that spectators looking for a great family-friendly event will not be disappointed. The pageant will feature a pre-show by Nathan Osmond along with skydivers, handcarts, live animals and one of the largest fireworks displays in the valley.

Just like with any other Osmond production, were going all out to make sure its a great show, Justin Osmond said.

A cast of approximately 150 youth are currently meeting three to five times a week to prepare for the production.

Pageant proceeds go to the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund in support of their mission to give the gift of hearing to local children.

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