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City of Lake Wales, Florida Depot Museum
Historic Lake Wales
Pioneer Day
Pioneer Day Location
Pioneer Day
Early Lake Wales Pioneers Pioneer Day first began in 1977 as an annual event held on the last Saturday in October or the first Saturday in November to celebrate the community's history and its earliest pioneer settlers.

As part of the Pioneer Day celebration, traditional crafts are demonstrated and sold. There is also plenty of entertainment, with everything from the Highlander marching band to carriage tours and antique car parades.

Special highlights of the celebration are the remembrance of "The Pioneer Years", which is the period from 1853 (when the region was first surveyed) to 1925 (when Lake Wales officially became a city), and the naming of "Pioneer of the Year".

Mimi Reid Hardman Hosted by Mimi Reid Hardman, Executive Director of the Depot Museum and founder of the Historic Lake Wales Society, Pioneer Hour opens with the traditional ringing of the Tillman Bell and features the naming of the Pioneer of the Year. The recipient of this award is determined through a highly secret selection process, and the award has been given annually since 1978 to a person who has been employed in an occupation or engaged in civic pursuits that have contributed significantly to the growth and development of the greater Lake Wales community.

Pioneers of the Year

1978 Morris Jones
Pioneer of the Year 2013
Pioneer of the Year 2013
Clinton Horne
Pioneer of the Year 2012
Pioneer of the Year 2012
Edwin Friedlander
1979 Janyce Ahl
1980 Bessie Snyder
1981 R.L. Johnson
1982 W.D. Crews
1983 Kenneth Rhodes
1984 Sam Keen
1985 Henry F. and Douglas Bullard
1986 Myra Curtis Chandley
1987 Marie Kirch
1988 Mr. and Mrs. H.G. McClendon
1989 Juanita Wetmore
1990 Mada Fraser Babcock
1991 Jeresa Austin
1992 Lee Roy Horton
1993 Miss Margaret Smith
1994 Tom Campbell
1995 Thalia Johnson and Stapleton Gooch
1996 Mildred Kingsbury
1997 Roger Cain
1998 Mary L. Zipprer
1999 Ola Belle Tillman
2000 Robert E. Lasseter, Jr.
2001 Constance Van Hook
2002 Vita Hinshaw
2003 George Whitehurst and Martha White
2004 George Edwin Albritton and
Mollie Albritton Cooper
2005 Frank Hunt
2006 Hazel Mary Grace Alexander
2007 Horace Herndon
2008 Joe Martin
2009 William M. Hardman
2010 The Jahna Family
2011 G. Ellis Hunt
2012 Edwin Friedlander
2013 Clinton Horne
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