By Collin Anderson
Saturday afternoon, Panaca was abuzz with activity due to the Pioneer Day Celebration. Cars and folding chairs lined Main Street as hundreds of residents and visitors joined in the yearly event, their numbers boosted by the multiple family reunions that graced this small town.
One reunion, put on by the Wadsworth family, numbered over 160, making the turnout for the parade even more impressive. While the weather threatened to dampen the celebration, it never fell, and all that attended were able to enjoy the floats without threat of a downpour.
“We were terrified that we’d get rained on,” said Calista Anderson, who had been tasked with preparing Panaca’s LDS primary parade float, “since most of our float was made of paper.” The entire event was put on by the LDS Panaca First Ward and was hosted by Mike Anderson, who says that he’s been working with the parade for forty-seven years.
After a quick recognition of the sponsors, which included the Panaca Market, Jolly’s Drugstore, and Boothill Bouquets, the parade commenced. Pete Horlacher led the event as the grand marshal, riding in on a red tractor and followed by a couple of young women riding horses. Then came the previously mentioned Panaca primary float, with the theme “I’m going there someday” and was decorated to resemble the soon to open Cedar City, Utah LDS Temple and its grounds. Then came a few pristine classic cars, including a Camaro driven by Panaca’s own Irvine Wright. While his son owns the car, Wright bought the Camaro brand new and was the only owner until he transferred ownership over to his son.
Next was the game warden’s float, comprised of a game warden truck towing a four-wheeler on a trailer, driven by another member of the Panaca community, John Anderson. The Loving Care float then followed, with quite a few energetic cats and dogs of all kinds tossing candy to the kids awaiting on the side of the road. Loving Care is a local non-profit organization run by Max and Susan Austgen and has been a staple of the community for quite some time. Some more cars followed, including a race car from Max Effort Racing, and then the entire parade was wrapped up by the Panaca Fire Department. On top of the final engine was Hunter Blood, who had fun spraying water on some of the parade goers.
The entire event was a success, bringing joy, a sense of pride in our pioneer ancestors, and lots of sweets to the people of Panaca and the rest of our beautiful county.