A friend of mine put on her facebook "I am thankful for this made-up Utah holiday as it allows me time off work, time with friends/family, and another round of fireworks". I don't think I could have put it any better!
Utah celebrates Pioneer day b/c its when the Mormon's made their trek to Utah and Brigham Young(?) said "This is the place"... or something like that, Im not really up on my LDS history, I just live here :)
The only thing that bugs me about this day is some people think this is a bigger day than the 4th of July. The activities are bigger, there are parades, and fireworks. It's a state holiday so a lot of things are closed. (Mind you, Pioneer Day fell on a Sunday this year so its being observed today b/c we don't have holidays on Sundays around here).
I get that its a big deal to some... just not everyone... and I feel that Independance Day is much more symbolic than Pioneer Day and needs all the love (and more!) than the state holiday does. Just my 2 cents...
Happy Pioneer Day, Utah!