Event of the Week: Englewood Pioneer Days

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Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 4:50 pm

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. -- Labor Day is usually pretty quiet here on the Suncoast...except for one place. Englewood, Florida is the headquarters for fun and festivities this weekend.

It may be quiet everywhere else, but Englewood is going to be jumping.

Englewood Pioneer Days started 58 years ago, and it's grown to be one of the biggest Labor Day events in the state.

Last year, 7,000 people came out for the parade. "Pioneer Days is an opportunity for the community to come together at the end of the summer when it's been a tough hot summer. It started back in the ‘50s, and this gave everyone an opportunity to see their neighbors and see friends,” says Christi Phelps of the Pioneer Days Committee.

Bart Tracy's family has been a part of the celebration since Day One. "My family has been here 100 years, and the pioneers are the ones who lived here year-round prior to air conditioning. If you could live with prickly heat rash, we call you a pioneer."

Englewood Pioneer Days run for about 2 weeks, and it includes a huge number of events.

Saturday morning at 9am it's the 20th Annual Captain Rick’s Carboard Boat Race. "You basically try to get the biggest box you possibly can and make it waterproof long enough to paddle about a hundred yards across Lemon Bay."

Then Saturday night there's the Shipwreck Dance. "Historically it was a street dance, and what we're trying to do is bring back historically what it used to be. This year it's free, they get to listen to great music, we've got food trucks coming."

And live music that will get you on your feet moving. "We've got a local band, a local jazz band from the high school called Lucky 7 performing. They're opening for Kettle of Fish out of Sarasota."

And then Sunday morning there's the kids fishing tournament.

"We have a fishing tournament that goes on down at the Tom Adams Bridge. What we try to do is provide a way for everybody to be involved," says chairman Erick Phelps.

Even the babies get their time in the spotlight; Sunday afternoon at 2pm there's a Diaper Derby at the Lemon Bay Women's Club.

Then the Englewood Pioneer Days Parade steps off down Dearborn Street Monday morning at 9am.

Following the parade, the Festival in the Park will last till 3 pm. “We have music lots of entertainment, contests, pie eating, watermelon eating, as well as a beard contest.”

For more information on these events, visit www.englewoodpioneerdays.com

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