Salt Lake Pioneer Day parade patrons stake their claim early

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Countless parade patrons began staking their claim, Wednesday, despite police officers’ requests not to.

The Days of ‘47 tradition spans decades, and some families say they are not about to end it now.

The McQuillan family sets up on 200 East every year.

“It was always so fun—when we were kids—when we were sleeping out," said Julie Stoneman, who set up a canopy for her family Wednesday morning. “It’s a family tradition,” she said.

"But we're the four people who always get suckered in to staying out," added Matt McQuillin, another family member.

Countless others are doing the same. Families, young and old, say they are eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s Pioneer Day parade.

"Last year, I was holding up an ‘I’m single’ sign, and I got kissed by a lot of cheerleaders. I'm going to do that this year, again,” said Isaac, a young boy camping out.

The parade will begin near South Temple and State Street, then, move down 200 East.
Some restaurant owners plan on opening early because business booms every year.

"…Probably a 50 percent or 70 percent increase,” said Scott Han, who owns the Smile Café.

Salt Lake Police discouraged patrons from reserving spaces until 6 P.M., Wednesday night.

"It's just about having some rules in place in case they are needed,” said Detective Veronica Montoya, spokesperson for Salt Lake City Police Dept. “I think, all in all, people are considerate of others, and that's all we're asking," she said.

But police say not everyone can be happy campers…

"[Officers] told all of us—about 3:30—that we couldn't set up here. We had to get off the ground…” said Grant Hathaway, a Sandy father who tried to reserve some space. “Then everybody else, [police] just left," he said.

Many parade-goers say police should enforce the rules on everyone or no one at all.

"We're going to put together a petition—probably this year," said Hathaway.

One restriction police say they will not compromise: illegal parking along the parade route.

"They're not going to start moving vehicles or towing vehicles till about 1 in the morning, once they get a better idea of which vehicles have left for the day," explained Montoya.

Roads will begin closing Thursday around 5:00 A.M., and the parade will start at 9:00 A.M. One other thing to keep in mind is that animals are not allowed along the route; police ask that you keep all pets at home.

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