Utah is a funny place. I was born and raised there so I feel like I'm allowed to say this, though it's not without affection and admiration that I say it.
On one hand, there's a large Mormon population which tends to be quite conservative. This has led to some very odd alcohol laws (want a double gin and tonic? You'll have to go to a neighbouring state for that, you heathen), yet it also means that Utah is a pretty safe and friendly place to live (it's not uncommon for strangers to wave hello as you drive past).
On the flip side, Utah (especially Salt Lake City) is also home to a flourishing liberal community. There's a vibrant alternative music and arts scene, and did you know that Utah legalized gay marriage before the Supreme Court's nationwide ruling? True dat!
This strange culture clash can prove a bit confusing at times, but it has also given way to what is undoubtedly Utah's most glorious (albeit unofficial) holiday:
! ! ! PIE AND BEER DAY ! ! !
Yes, my friends, that is an actual thing.
July 24th is an official state holiday in Utah known as Pioneer Day. It commemorates the day the Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in their covered wagons and decided to call it home. To celebrate there are fireworks, parades and friendly neighbourhood BBQs all over the state. Basically, it's a whole lot of good old-fashioned family fun.
However, not wanting to be left out of the festivities, the non-Mormon population took it upon themselves to create their own unique alternative to Pioneer Day. Thus Pie n' Beer Day was born (get it? Pioneer...Pie n' Beer...). Genius? You betcha!
And it's exactly what it sounds like. Every July 24th, liberal Utahns seek out and consume all the pie and beer they can get their hands on. What kind of pie, you ask? Any kind you like! Salt Lake City even has a much-loved pizzeria called The Pie, which means you can have pie for your main and for dessert. Basically, it's a glorious day of gluttony, beer and overenthusiastic sparkler usage.
Most winning fake holiday ever? I think so.
Pro-tip: If you're ever lucky enough to find yourself in Utah on Pie and Beer Day, I suggest trying a Wasatch Polygamy Porter. Their motto is "Why have just one?" *nudge nudge*