‘Pie and Beer day’? A made up holiday for the rest of Utah

Composite image. Pie: Photo by vm2002/iStock/Getty Images Plus, Wagon, Photo by goodynewshoes/iStock/Getty Images Plus, Beer barrel: Photo by demarcomedia/iStock/Getty Images Plus, Cowboy: Photo by verbaska_studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus; St. George News

ST. GEORGE — For those reading this story from outside Utah, you may be unfamiliar with a significant element of the state’s culture celebrated annually July 24: It’s Pioneer Day, an official Utah state holiday.

2018 file photo of Cedar City Pioneer Day Parade, Cedar City, Utah, July 24, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Banks and some stores close along with state offices on Pioneer Day. It commemorates Brigham Young and the intrepid Latter-day Saint pioneers first coming into the Salt Lake Valley way back in 1847. A parade, a rodeo, fireworks and barbecues are usually on tap for Pioneer Day throughout Utah and surrounding communities.

When it comes right down to it, though, Pioneer Day is pretty much tied exclusively to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not everyone else always feels included.

About 15 years ago, groups began getting together on July 24 to celebrate the day their own way with beer and pies. Think about it. If you say it real fast, “Pioneer Day” sort of sounds like “Pie and Beer Day.”

“Pie and Beer Day was created as a counterculture alternative for people that don’t fit into the established green jello and hand cart mold that has been around for generations,” Mike Riedel of the Utah Beer Blog wrote. “More and more people are discovering what this wonderfully kitschy day has to offer. It’s not just about drinking beer or filling our … ‘pie holes’ with pie but that other non-LDS cultures matter and that our way of celebrating life in Utah is just as legitimate.”

What kind of pie or beer? That’s the beauty of Pie and Beer Day. Traditional pies like apple or cherry are seen, but meat pies and pizza pies are welcome as well. Ales, lagers and stouts share the table with root beer. All are welcome to celebrate Pie and Beer Day, and you don’t need alcohol to enjoy the party.

Ed. note: This story was originally published in St. George News’ 2017 Pioneer Day edition.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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