LDS Church: 'We need to find a venue,' cancels Pioneer Days Devotional

Saturday , July 07, 2018 - 5:00 AM8 comments

OGDEN — After years of celebrating the Ogden Pioneer Days Devotional, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has decided to revisit the event and not hold one this year.

Traditionally, the spiritually focused meeting took place in the Dee Events Center at Weber State University sometime before the Lindquist Family Symphony Pops and Fireworks. However, this year, organizers are taking a step back after a decline in attendance. 

Blake Wahlen, a volunteer with the LDS Church public affairs branch in Ogden, said this year’s cancellation does not mean devotionals will stop being held in Ogden. 

Wahlen said the church has held the devotional for many years, but last year’s event, in particular, had low attendance. He said the church is now considering a smaller venue for future devotionals.

The Dee Events Center, where the devotional took place for at least 20 years, has a seating capacity of 11,500.

Wahlen, who has helped organize the devotional for nine years, estimated that 4,000 to 5,000 people attended last year’s devotional where Elaine Dalton, a former Ogden resident and former young women’s general president for the LDS Church, spoke. Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell also spoke at the event last year.

“We are just trying to regroup and find a location, a program that might reach out to the younger generation,” Wahlen said.

The LDS Church, he said, will still support the Grand Parade on Tuesday, July 24.

Contact education reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán at smartinezbeltran@standard.net or 801-625-4274. Follow him on Twitter @SergioMarBel and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/STANDARDEXSergio.

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