The Pioneer Legacy Lives On
By SGHW Staff
Merrill Osmond, lead singer of the Osmond family, is excited to bring back one of Utah’s largest pioneer fireworks celebrations: The Pioneer Legacy. Merrill’s son Justin Osmond is taking the lead as The Pioneer Legacy enters its second year in St. George, Utah. They are excited to announce their continued partnership with Dixie State University (DSU) and with many other wonderful community members. This fireworks spectacular and musical will be hosted in the new Trailblazer football stadium on July 24th.
The Pioneer Legacy is a charitable musical event and is free to the public. After a pre-show of skydivers, a patriotic medley from the Southern Utah Heritage Choir, entertainment from Nathan Osmond and Sam Payne, and other surprises, a youth cast of over one hundred members will depict with dance and music the journey of the Dixie Utah pioneers. Sitting under a canopy of stars, attendees will witness wagons, hand-carts, music, jaw-dropping entertainment, special guests, and one of the largest fireworks displays in the valley.
The production of The Pioneer Legacy is under the auspices of the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund. The proceeds from this event will benefit both the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund and the Osmond Center for Performing Arts, which is affiliated with the DSU College of the Arts. Their goal is to improve and provide educational, musical, and hearing resources available to the deaf and hard-of-hearing.“You can look at the Osmonds as the entertainment family or whatever else, but the real emphasis behind all of this and why we’re doing all of this is to help raise money and awareness for the deaf and hard of hearing world,” Merrill said. Due to many dedicated and committed sponsors and community supporters, The Pioneer Legacy has provided over $110,000 worth of hearing aids for local children and adults.
Along with keeping Olive Osmond’s legacy alive and helping the deaf community, Justin hopes this show will connect with rising generations. “Our youth tend to forget why we celebrate Pioneer Day,” said Justin. “They need to understand the sacrifices made by the pioneers so they can better appreciate and enjoy their present day conveniences and accommodations. Every time we’ve done this event, I’ve noticed the youth always walk away with a change of heart—like they’re excited to go find out who their great-great-grandfather was.”
The production was created by Merrill Osmond in the 1980s. The first show took place in Osmond’s hometown of Draper, Utah in 1987 with over 12,000 people in attendance. While the show was originally written and performed for the Salt Lake community, it has been revamped to tell the stories of the southern Utah pioneers. And even though the event is separate from The Days of ‘47, the Osmonds have partnered with The Days of ‘47, Inc. in order to provide this musical and fireworks entertainment for the community.
As producers of the show, the Osmonds will be working with children from all over the state of Utah. The youth cast will dress up as pioneers—complete with raccoon hats and bonnets—and will use handcarts and wagons on set. Additionally, Native-Americans will share their heritage through traditional dance and costume. However, it is the fireworks display that makes this event unique. Most events celebrating Pioneer Day have fireworks for the finale, but Justin points out that this event will have fireworks throughout the entire show. “It’s like the Bellagio in Vegas with the dancing waters: everything is computerized, synchronized, and right on cue with every beat,” he said. “The fireworks will be telling the story throughout the whole evening.”
Although The Pioneer Legacy highlights the heartaches and sacrifices of the Dixie Pioneers and Native-Americans through music and choreography, the show will also pay tribute to and honor military members and veterans as well as locale police officers and firemen. And since the DSU mascot has a connection to pioneer history, the Dixie Trailblazers will also be featured. “This uplifting, good, clean, and family-fun event is for all ages, and our attendees are pioneer lovers at heart,” said Justin. “This is a perfect occasion for anyone who wishes to pay tribute to our beloved pioneers on this annual pioneer holiday. Come early, bring your blankets and lots of water, and get ready to enjoy an evening never to be forgotten.”
Admission is free. Doors are set to open on July 24th at 6:30 p.m. A pre-show will begin at 8:30 p.m., and then Merrill Osmond’s The Pioneer Legacy will start at dusk (approximately 9:20 p.m.) and end with a spectacular fireworks finale.