Participants in a Pioneer Day parade walk on Saturday through Taylor Park in Farmington.
Participants in a Pioneer Day parade walk on Saturday through Taylor Park in Farmington. (Alexa Rogals/The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Several dozen children marched around Farmington's Taylor Park on Saturday in bonnets and vests to remember their pioneer ancestors.

The children's parade was part of the Farmington Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' annual Pioneer Day celebration. Pioneer Day was on Thursday, but the stake hosted its events honoring the church holiday on Saturday so more people could attend.

The Farmington Stake includes 4,400 people, who are divided into eight wards and two branches, said Stake President Brent Farnsworth. A few hundred of the members attended Saturday's celebration, which included a parade, game and a barbecue.

"It's important to remember the sacrifice (the pioneers) made for us and what they did for us," Farnsworth said.

Four years ago, church member Ken Stradling went on a commemorative trek in the Martin's Cove area of Wyoming. The trek covers a small distance of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, which stretches around 1,300 miles from Nauvoo, Ill., to Salt Lake City, Utah. Stradling's trek lasted three days and gave the Farmington man an idea of what it was like for his ancestors 150 years ago.

"I can't imagine having to do that for six months," he said during Saturday's Pioneer Day.

Sylvia Lambson, president of the stake's Relief Society, also went on the trek four years ago.

"We can learn so much about their sacrifice," she said.

She said many people buried wives, children and other relatives during the exodus from Illinois to Utah.

"It's their faith that really carried them," she said.

Also attending the event on Saturday was Robert Rhien, a top-ranking LDS official in San Juan County who belongs to the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy. He said Pioneer Day is about remembering the heritage of the church.

"To me, celebration is all about remembering," he said.

He said by living a good life, treating people kindly and standing up for the values the pioneers fought for, church members can honor their ancestors.

"We need to be valiant in our beliefs, no matter what our beliefs are," Rhien said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.