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On balance, end of Pageant is a good thing

 

As one volunteer whose family has been in the Mormon Miracle Pageant for 14 years put it, “It’s time.”

Much as staging the Pageant for 53 years has been rewarding for the community and has promoted the faith of individuals, the fact that it is ending is a good thing.

While the message of the Pageant is timeless, the presentation had become outdated.

And the Pageant places a lot of demands on a lot of people. Many volunteers who have helped with the Pageant or guest services for decades feel caught between habit and a sense of obligation, and weariness from doing the same thing every year.

One concern that has been expressed is whether discontinuation of the Pageant will hurt the Manti or Sanpete County economy. We don’t believe loss of business should be too big a worry.

When the Pageant started in the 1960s, Sanpete County was a economic backwater where people did anything they could to eke out a living. At that time, population was declining.

Today, our economy is much more diversified, job creation numbers are good and our population is growing. With the exception of Iron County (Cedar City) and Washington County (the metro St. George area), Sanpete is the largest county in Utah south of U.S. 6.

That doesn’t mean local communities shouldn’t be looking for substitute events to book up our lodging places and fill our
restaurants.

In one week, the first ballgame will be played in the new Manti softball complex. But by next summer, all five fields in the Manti facility, plus the four fields in Ephraim, will be ready to host large tournaments.

We need to look for events we’re already staging that might be beefed up and marketed to statewide, regional or national clientele.

The five-day Rocky Mountain ATV/UTV Jamboree in Richfield attracts hundreds of riders from around the country. Yet our Arapeen Trail system in the Manti-LaSal National Forest has as much to offer as the Paiute system in Fishlake National Forest.

The Manti ATV Run, sponsored by Manti City, might be an event that could be marketed more broadly.

Other possibilities include the Sanpete County Fair, competitions at the ConToy Arena, and possibly the plein air art competition in Spring City.

Meanwhile, whatever your role, enjoy the finale season of the Pageant. There will be 1,000 in the cast and crew. Lodging and camping locations are 100 percent booked. The largest audience in years is expected. If, per chance, you haven’t seen the Pageant before, it will be performed this week, Thursday through Saturday, June 13-15, and next week, Tuesday through Saturday, June 18-22. All performances begin at 9:30 p.m. Don’t miss it!