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Pioneer Days parade a community tradition in Englewood

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ENGLEWOOD, Fla. -- Thousands come out for a Labor Day tradition in Englewood Monday: the annual Pioneer Days parade. Organizers say it's a way for the community to come together while creating a boost for business.

They started off early in the morning with more than 75 community groups getting their floats ready. "It's really turned into a community-driven event," said event organizer Erick Phelps.

Soon after, thousands lined the streets. "It's just a tradition, really," said Englewood resident Dan Flynn.

Resident Dorla Long says it brings out the best of the Englewood area. "I think it's typical Englewood; family oriented, and people can come of all ages and feel perfectly comfortable."

Soon the horns honked, the cheers sounded, and the candy flew.

Phelps says the parade is in its 68th year. "It's like the class reunion. People come out to the parade and see people they probably have not seen since the last parade. It just keeps going on. Everyone has a story. It may have been 20 years ago, it may have been 40 years ago."

Music and wares can be found, too. Thousands flock to downtown Dearborn Street, bringing a little boost to business.

That too is an old tradition. "The idea initially was that it was such a slow time of year 58 years ago, that they needed something to do and bring money to local businesses. It sort of applies still."

Englewood resident Betty Brown says it can't hurt. "I saw things today I didn't know they were here. That's good. You will come back again."

A community coming together and supporting each other, nearly seven decades strong. "It's a throwback to old times. Everyone who comes here sees that."

Event organizers say between the parade and surrounding events, more than 10,000 people take part in Pioneer Days.