OUR 45TH ANNIVERSARY!
PIONEER DAYS FESTIVAL 2021 - October 23 & 24, 2021
OLD-FASHIONED FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
The Lake Wales History Museum will present the 45th Annual Pioneer Days Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 23 & 24, 2021, which is a celebration of Lake Wales’ history and heritage. Located along the shores of Lake Wailes Park, the free community festival features a heritage village that includes dozens of historical demonstrations of pioneer camps and early American trades. The public is welcome to experience, learn, share and buy hand-crafted goods from these vendors along with more than 60 craft market vendors. Average attendance is 7,500—10,000 individuals.
The festival honors pioneers from the past and presents an annual recognition award to a notable resident of historical contributions to the community during the festival with community organizations, antique tractors and cars, live music and entertainment, festival food, beer & wine. Families can also enjoy the Pumpkin Patch with pumpkins for sale, fall craft stations, old-fashioned games, a corn crib, hay piles, photo station, and face painting.
For the health and safety of all our participants, this event will be held entirely outdoors, and mask requirements and physical distancing will be implemented in accordance with regulations and guidance from the state of Florida, City of Lake Wales, and the CDC. We are so excited for the return of this community event, and we will do everything we can to make it safe.
PIONEER OF THE YEAR CELEBRATION - SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2021 AT 10AM
HONORING THE 2021 PIONEER OF THE YEAR - MRS. GLADYS HOWELL
Mrs. Gladys Howell was born in Florida in 1926 to Richard and Theresa Isom, and moved with her family to Lake Wales as a young child. She attended and graduated from Roosevelt School in 1944. She then attended Bethune-Cookman University, and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 1960, and afterwards she received her master’s degree from Alabama State University. During that time, she met and married Robert Howell, and they moved back to Lake Wales to live permanently in 1964. Mrs. Howell starting teaching at her own alma mater, the Roosevelt School in 1960, and then later at Polk Avenue Elementary. She taught school in Lake Wales for more than 30 years. She was the first teacher in Polk County to raise fund and take her 4th grade class to Washington D.C. This was one of many extra-curricular activities for the students she raised money for. She worked part-time at Mountain Lake Estates so she could travel and pursue further educational experiences. Robert and Gladys Howell had four children, all of whom pursued the educational fields and community activities. Mrs. Howell’s dedication to her community is evident by the organizations she has volunteered at over the years including Girls Scouts, the NAACP, Lake Wales Care Center, Order of the Eastern Star, American Legion, and the Bethune-Cookman Alumni Association, and her hometown church, the First Institutional Missionary Baptist Church.
Today, the Howell family has been recognized for their community contributions with a park named in their honor in Lake Wales, and Mrs. Howell was also personally honored at the Green and Gold Foundation Gala for her education and community efforts in 2019. Gladys is an integral part of Lake Wales’ community history. Please join the museum in honoring Mrs. Gladys Howell on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 10 AM in Lake Wailes Park.
2021 HISTORICAL DEMONSTRATIONS, HERITAGE EDUCATION & FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Heritage education activities offered throughout the weekend celebration include historic architecture tours of downtown Lake Wales, Canoe Carving, Polk County Woodturners, SWEAT – Early American Trades, The Country Boutique – Candle Making, Artisan Blacksmith, Civil War Camp – Reenactors & Cooking, Florida Citrus Hall of Fame – Miss Florida Citrus and Citrus Labels, a 1861 Cracker Chuck Wagon & Pioneer Camp, Funerary & Historic Cemetery Display, Pine Needle Baskets, PT Mortimer Medicine & Magic Show, antique car show and parade at 12 PM on Saturday, October 26, Flywheelers antique tractor, engine exhibits, and the museum’s own 1985 fire truck.
Family friendly activities offered include the Family Pumpkin Patch with wooden cut out and old-fashioned photo stations, pumpkin painting, old fashioned games – corn hole, croquet, checkers, sidewalk chalk and hula hoops, hay pit play area, corn crib, fall crafts, face painting, live animal petting zoo, and relay races
Kids Costume Contest will be on Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 3 PM. Children ages 3-12 are invited to dress up and enter for a chance to win prizes for the following categories: Cutest, Spookiest, Most Original, and Best Overall Costumes.
A Dog Parade will be on Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 1 PM. Well-behaved dogs of all shapes and sizes, along with their owners, are welcome to dress up and enter for a chance to win prizes for the following categories: Cutest Costume, Most Original, and Best Overall.
CRAFT & COMMUNITY MARKET
50 craft market and community vendors will have a range of be selling at our showcase a range of goods & services including handmade, gemstone and silver jewelry, home goods, kitchen items, gourds woven with natural materials, essential oils, organic & natural clothing & hats, handmade holiday home décor items & candles, organic health products, nail polish, handcrafted Native American flutes, pet supplies and treats, fiber art & crocheted home goods, hand spun & dyed yarn, reclaimed and recycled art and wood décor and home goods, hair accessories, Teddy bears, photography artwork, bath & body care products, greeting cards, children’s items, repurposed furniture, gourmet and homemade culinary & food gifts.
Learn about your community with organizations displaying a range of social, civic, educational and health organizational service information from non-profits across Lake Wales.
2021 LIVE ENTERTAINMENT, FOOD AND DRINKS
IN THE NEW LAKESIDE "PIONEER BEER & WINE GARDEN"
NEW! Pioneer Beer & Wine Garden will feature a selection of beers and wines for sale from 11 AM – 5 PM each day. Enjoy drinks and food while listening to the live entertainment along the shores of Lake Wailes Lake, presented by Rotary on the Ridge.
Food concessions include the return of local favorites and new offerings including, WTF Concessions, Little Joe’s, Rodney’s Funtime Concessions, Cuppa Joe, Topsy’s, Tony’s Italian Ice, Fresh Lemonade, The Sweet Spot, Old-Fashioned Soda Wagon, Taco Riendo, and Weekend Catering. Food for sale includes Coffee, Smoothies, Funnel Cakes, Hot Dogs, Polish Sausage, Corn Dogs, French Fries, Philly Cheesesteaks, Hamburgers, Fresh Lemonade, Slushies, Hoagies, Chicken Tenders, Po Boys, Fish & Shrimp Platter, Wings, Italian ice, Tacos, Conch Fritters, Salads, Fried Crab, Rib Platter & More!
LIVE ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE
Saturday, October 23
- 10 – 11 AM - Pioneer of the Year Celebration – Mrs. Gladys Howell
- 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM - Sandy Back Porch
- 12 PM - Antique Car Parade
- 1:30 – 2 PM - PT Mortimer Medicine & Magic Show
- 2 – 5 PM - Grateful Alive
- 3 PM - Studio 6 Academy of Dance
Sunday, October 24
- 9 AM – 11 AM - Jimi Pappas
- 11 – 11:30 AM - PT Mortimer Medicine & Magic Show
- 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM - Bryan Rivers
- 1:30 PM - Dog Parade
- 2 – 5 PM - Mountain Brew Trio
- 3 PM - Kid’s Costume Contest
BECOME A VENDOR - 2021 REGISTRATION IS CLOSED
Save the date for next year: October 29 & 30, 2022
CRAFT MARKET VENDOR
2021 Confirmed Vendors: Art Barn Studio, Betts Best Quilts, Designed 4 U, Oni's Chocolates, Seaglass Huntress, Rosemaling by Monika, Love to Sew, Joviale Creations, Lesta's Mother Africa Traffic Mall, Décor by Minnie, BJ's Cakes & More, Red Hand Knives, Scentsy- A True Scented Blessing, Happy Hives, His & Hers Designs, Orchids Just 4 U, Pine Away Baskets, The Shoppe, All Sewed Up, Custom Wood Creations, Wreaths by Marie, The Pineapple Brand, Open Door Wellness, Julia's Natural Shop, Get Reel Fishing Apparel, Piece by Peace, Hamilton's Gift Shop, Noble Handmade Creations, Go Native, Biminibob Art, Tire Yard Art, LadyBUGS31, Blown Glass & Hairbows by Winston, Waxy Cow Candle & Boutique, Shades of Green, 43rd Street Candles
2021 Confirmed Vendors: Fellowship of Christian Farmers, LW DAR, Lake Wales Heritage, Lincoln Community Redevelopment, Trinity Baptist Church, Family Literacy Academy, Rotary Club of Lake Wales, Circle of Friends, GFWC Women's Club of Lake Wales
2021 Confirmed Vendors: Rodney's Funtime Concessions, Little Joe's, WTF Concessions, Cuppa Joe, Topsy’s, Tony’s Italian Ice, Weekend Catering, Taco Riendo, The Sweet Spot, Nostalgic Soda, Fresh Smashed Lemonade
Food Selections: Coffee, Smoothies, Funnel Cakes, Hot Dogs, Polish Sausage, Corn Dogs, French Fries, Philly Cheesesteaks, Hamburgers, Fresh Lemonade, Slushies, Hoagies, Chicken Tenders, Po Boys, Fish & Shrimp Platter, Wings, Italian Ice, Tacos, Bahama pizza, Conch fritters, Conch Salad, Fried Conch, Fried Crab, Catfish Nuggets, Rib Dinner
HISTORICAL DEMONSTRATIONS & RE-ENACTOR VENDORS
2021 Confirmed Vendors: Canoe Carving, Polk County Woodturners, SWEAT – Early American Trades, The Country Boutique – Candle Making, Artisan Blacksmith, Civil War Camp – Reenactors & Cooking, Florida Citrus Hall of Fame – Miss Florida Citrus and Citrus Labels, a 1861 Cracker Chuck Wagon & Pioneer Camp, Funerary & Historic Cemetery Display, Pine Needle Baskets, PT Mortimer Medicine & Magic Show
SUPPORT THE FESTIVAL - PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE
Become a sponsor and support local heritage.
Sponsorships range from $250 - 5,000, and allow us to offer the best vendors, music and more for our community festival. All funds raised from the Pioneer Days Festival directly support the event and the Lake Wales History Museum’s ongoing historic preservation, educational programming, and museum exhibits.
Donations are tax-deductible, allow opportunities to showcase your products and services to the community and benefits include your name or logo in our media promotions which includes a $35,000 marketing campaign. The event is promoted from Tampa to Orlando and throughout Polk County online, through social media, on local radio and newspaper media, as well as through posters and flyers. A complimentary 10' x 10' space at the festival is provided for you to promote your business.
2021 Confirmed Sponsors & Media Partners:
Sponsors: City of Lake Wales, Visit Central Florida, State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, Duke Energy Foundation, Advent Health, Citizens Bank & Trust, Gibson Law Firm, SEMCO Construction, Jahna Foundation, Family Elder Law
Media Partners: Polk News Sun, The Ledger Media Group, Orlando Sentinel, Haven Magazines, WUSF Public Media, Max 98.3, 90.7 WMFE, 97.5 WPCV, Today & Tonight Magazine
We would love to count you among our contributors and donors.
VOLUNTEER AT THE FESTIVAL
We are looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of the festival. We need help with planning, coordinating vendors, greeting visitors, parking cars and more, and would love to have your help! Volunteers receive a complimentary festival shirt and a $10 food voucher good towards for festival food (no cash value).
SHOP, STAY & PLAY LOCAL
Check out great places to stay overnight, dine, shops and see while you’re in the Lake Wales for the weekend!
Click here for our Visiting Lake Wales.
LOCATION & PARKING
Pioneer Days Festival takes place in Lake Wailes Park located at 33 North Lakeshore Blvd in Lake Wales, Florida. Parking is free, and located next to the festival areas at Lake Wailes Park. Accessible parking and complimentary shuttles for persons with disabilities will be available.