My name is Paul Hoffman. I am the stake historical affairs representative. I serve on the multi-stake historical affairs committee, which is a branch of church public affairs. We focus on sharing Church history with members of the public in a way that gives them a good feeling about the Church and the many significant contributions of Church members throughout California history from the pioneer times to the present. We primarily focus on teaching people about the contributions of Church members in the pioneer period in California, including the Mormon pioneers who came to California in 1847 with the ship Brooklyn, the Mormons who built and settled San Bernardino in the 1850s, the Mormons who helped discover gold in 1848 and 1849, and the many contributions of the Mormon Battalion in helping to build California towns, roads, and other public improvements. We do this through Pioneer Day presentations in local stakes and parks, and teaching local school kids about pioneer life.
Our biggest event each year is the Swallows Day Parade, held this year on Saturday, March 21, in which we reenact the Mormon Battalion's march through San Juan Capistrano on March 20, 1847. Many stakes participate in this event. The Mormon Battalion is almost always the biggest parade contingent each year, with about 115 people marching last year. It's also a really good way to teach your kids about their Mormon pioneer heritage. Please come in pioneer style clothing. For the men and boys, we will equip you with either a replica (non-firing) musket or a shovel and will train you how to march like the Mormon Battalion did 168 years ago. For the ladies, you can help too by coming in pioneer dresses, aprons, and bonnets or straw hats and can march alongside us and wave to the crowd. We especially want kids and ladies to come because they help put a friendly face on the otherwise military appearance of the Mormon Battalion.
Somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 people typically come to watch the Swallows parade and it will be on local television, so it is a good opportunity to smile and teach our OC neighbors about the contributions of our Mormon ancestors. We always receive a lot of applause along the parade route, so it is really a lot of fun to both reenact history and make a good impression for the Church. Announcers along the way announce who we are and the contributions of the Mormon Battalion, so it is very educational for the people who watch.
If you are unable to march, please come and watch the parade and cheer us on. Bring your friends too. There are a significant number of people who become more interested in the Church through the historical affairs program. Hope to see you there. If anyone needs help putting together their pioneer clothing or wants to march with musket and accoutrements like other reenactors, please have them contact me. (949) 212-9233.