With attendance dropping to an all-time low in 2017, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to cancel their annual Ogden Pioneer Day Devotional. The devotional was held each year for the past two decades at the Dee Events Center before the cancellation was announced on July 7.
The devotional has been held at the Dee Events Center for a host of reasons, including the venue’s seating capacity, with space for approximately 11,500 attendees. Blake Wahlen, a volunteer with the LDS Church Public Affairs branch in Ogden estimated that last year between 4,000 and 5,000 people attended the event, significantly less than capacity.
Prominent members of the community and the LDS Church spoke at the devotion, including Elaine Dalton, former Young Women’s General President. The expectation was that she would draw a large crowd, being one of the first women speakers in years. Instead, attendance hit rock bottom.
“We are trying to regroup and find a location, a program that might might reach out to the younger generation,” Wahlen said to the Standard-Examiner.
With this, the LDS Church is now considering smaller venues for future devotionals. Wahlen also stated that this year’s cancellation does not mean devotionals will end in Ogden.
As of July 16, hopeful attendees looking at ogdenpioneerdays.com will find the phrase “Whoa, Boy!” accompanying an error message. The church should announce a location for the devotional before the Pioneer Days festivities begin on July 24.
The LDS Church will still be involved in the Grand Parade on July 24. The Church’s choir, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will also still be performing July 20–21 in Salt Lake City.