Monticello ready for a Pioneer Day celebration
The city and San Juan Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Pioneer Day Celebration Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25.
Although COVID-19 has put a bit of a damper on the event, there will still be plenty of fun to be had and a host of familiar events to enjoy.
It all kicks off at the ballfields at 3 p.m on Friday with an exciting home run derby featuring batters who will play in the annual Blue Mountain Fastpitch Softball Tournament, which begins at 5 p.m.
Dragging Main Street in Monticello will be a highlight on Friday evening. The informal event begins as soon as two cars arrive and will extend until the last car is gone.
Vendors will be at the ballfield pavilion both Friday and Saturday, serving a variety of delicious food including Navajo tacos, burgers, icy treats, dutch oven potatoes, turkey legs, and more.
Saturday starts early with the Pioneer Day 5K Run and Pioneer Day Kids Race at Loyds Lake, benefitting the Monticello Cross Country and Track teams. Registration begins at 6 a.m. with the races starting at 7 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.
The annual Lions Club Breakfast will take place from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Stake Center Pavilion behind the Post Office.
The fastpitch tournament resumes at 8 a.m. and traditionally runs late into the night.
Many are looking forward to the annual Pioneer Day Parade, and they won’t be disappointed. Floats, vehicles, bikes, tractors, and cheerleaders will line up in front of Monticello High School beginning at 10 a.m., and the parade will make its way down Main Street starting at 10:30.
No candy will be thrown this year due to COVID-19 precautions. The parade route has been extended by one block to facilitate social distancing.
Once the skies darken over Monticello, celebration attendees will be treated to one of the best fireworks shows in the Four Corners.
There are great spots throughout town to enjoy an awesome view, with the fireworks shot from the Monticello High School football field.
The 2020 Pioneer Day Celebration would not take place without the efforts of the San Juan Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Executive Director Bayley Hedglin explained the planning process required multiple meetings with the Monticello City Council and continuous consultation with San Juan Public Health.
Hedglin said the Chamber’s priority was safety, and once the health department gave their approval, the Chamber proceeded with the planning process.
Several special precautions are in place to ensure the celebration is safe for attendees. Except for the parade, all events and vendors will be located at the ballfields.
Facemasks will be available, handwashing and sanitizing stations will be onsite, and crews will ensure bathrooms and public facilities remain clean.
In addition, the “condensed celebration” this year is entirely outdoors, which will also help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection. If folks are still uncomfortable, there will only be one main area of town to avoid.
Hedglin said she felt it is important to continue what is a big Monticello summertime tradition.
“We’ve received overwhelming support,” she explained. “We’re doing what we can to keep this event as safe as we can, but we still want to celebrate. As long as people exercise individual responsibility, we’re excited to keep the tradition alive.”
For full details on the 2020 Pioneer Day Celebration in Monticello, check Facebook.com/MonticelloPioneerDays/. You can also find a schedule of events on page B8 of this issue.