Musicians take a break from playing live music to visit for a moment at the Museum of Moab's ice cream social. From left to right: Sue Sternberg, Miriam Graham and Donna Neuneker. [Courtesy photo / Museum of Moab]

The Museum of Moab has been celebrating Pioneer Day with an ice cream social at their lawn on Center Street for 35 years. This year the evening of cool treats, games, music and spending time with friends old and new will be 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 24.

“Everyone is welcome,” said museum board member Michele Hill.

The suggested donation for a scoop of ice cream is $1. However, anyone who dresses as a pioneer will get ice cream for free, said Travis Schenck, the museum director.

Pioneer Day, July 24, is a Utah state holiday that recognizes the day Mormon prophet Brigham Young and fellow pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

“Pioneer Day celebrates the arrival of the first Anglo settlers in Utah in 1847. While the holiday is primarily celebrates LDS Pioneers there are many other pioneers from people of all faiths, creeds, and beliefs who have made fabric of our community,” Schenck said.

The first Pioneer Day celebration was held in 1857, ten years after Mormon pioneers made Utah their home. The celebration ended abruptly when news of U.S. Army troops were headed to Utah for the beginning of the Utah War. It wasn’t celebrated again until 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln ordered federal troops to end their occupation of the territory.

The Museum of Moab began hosting the Pioneer Day ice cream social in 1978.

“The Museum holds the Ice Cream Social as a way to bring our community together. Pioneers are not only the people who settled our community but the people who make Moab their home today,” Schenck said. “We hold the social as a way to invite people to come together and share some ice cream and some music.”

Each year, the museum has offered ice cream, games, and music. This year, the museum will offer ice cream courtesy of Moab Ice Cream.

“Look at Moab’s event calendar for July 24. The museum’s Ice Cream Social is the only public invitation to recognize this big piece of Utah’s heritage,” Hill said. “The Museum’s Ice Cream Social brings together all denominations in a pleasant two hour affair of mingling and music. The social is a long standing tradition since 1978 for Moab to celebrate Pioneer Day low-key and kid friendly.”

The Museum of Moab has worked hard to preserve Moab’s history. It features exhibits Moab’s pioneer and mining history, as well as geology, archeology and paleontology exhibits.

Museum membership, for as little as $25 as a contributing member, goes to sustaining preservation of the museum artifacts as well as operating costs.

“Not only are you helping support Moab’s history but you also receive some fun perks like free and discounted admission to over 400 museums across the country, including the Price Prehistoric Museum and the Fruita Dinosaur Experience,” Schenck said.

Membership also provides a free subscription to The Canyon Legacy, the museum’s semi-annual journal.

“We have special members tours and events throughout the year as well,” Schenck said.