While many Utahans celebrate Pioneer Day, many others turn to pie instead. (Source: Student150 / Creative Commons)

Pioneer Day is a huge celebration for many in Utah – almost bigger than the 4th of July. But not all of us celebrate the religious holiday. Some of us celebrate Pie and Beer Day.

As someone who grew up as a Mormon, I understand the enjoyment one finds when searching for pioneer history and the satisfaction when discovering such lineage. As an individual who grew up worshiping their pioneers but no longer a member of the church, I also recognize how some people might feel disenfranchised by pioneer day.

This year, I, like many of those non-Mormons here in Utah, celebrated Pie and Beer Day.

“One of the best ideas Utah has ever had,” said one Pie and Beer Day participant who requested anonymity.

Pie and Beer Day is a play on the words in Pioneer Day. Instead of “Pioneer,” they have “Pie and Beer.” Many who do not have pioneer heritage and many who do not have a Mormon background do not have the affiliation to Pioneer Day, but Pie and Beer Day changes all of this.

“Heritage is second rate to the pie and beer that people had to offer,” said Jarred, who would like to be referred to by his first name only.

Like many holidays, Pioneer Day seems to only apply to a specific group of people. However, with a switch on focus, just about anyone can participate in the parades to celebrate the day. Those proud of their heritage can celebrate the holidays for the pioneer aspect.

But as for the many of us who don’t have pioneer heritage — or those who don’t care about their pioneer heritage like myself – Pie and Beer Day is an alternative to the mainstream holiday in Utah.

So what exactly does Pie and Beer Day entail?

Well, the name should be a huge hint. Pie and Beer Day is a time for a group of friends to get together and have togetherness. It’s family away from family. It’s a time to just be ourselves. Pie and Beer Day is all about people developing friendship and simply being themselves.

“Friendship is the core to Pie and Beer Day,” said Eric Pun, a participant in the non-secular holiday. “You can’t have Pie and Beer Day without friends.”

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