Pioneer Days Festival
October 29 & 30, 2022
Old Fashioned Fun for the Whole Family
The Lake Wales History Museum will present the 46th Annual Pioneer Days Festival on October 29 & 30, 2022, 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.
Nominate a Pioneer of the Year
Each year since 1977, the Lake Wales History Museum has recognized a resident of Lake Wales who has made an outstanding contribution to the quality of life and community of Lake Wales, and we are now accepting nominations for 2022. If you know someone who has lived in Lake Wales and made a significant contribution to our community, please consider submitting a nomination.
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, Thomas Geer 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, Leather maker, Chair caning, PT Mortimer Medicine & Magic Show, antique car show and parade, Flywheelers antique tractor, and engine exhibits.
Family friendly activities offered include the Family Pumpkin Patch with live animal petting zoo, 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, and relay races
Kids Costume Contest 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.
Craft & Community Market
More than 35 handmade & craft market 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.
Live Entertainment, Food, & Drinks
NEW! The Pioneer Beer & Wine Garden will feature a selection of beers and wines for sale 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.
Live entertainment will feature music and performances each day and festival food will offer a wide range of local favorites and food trucks.
Registration is now open for the 2022 festival! Would you like to sell fine art, craft and handmade items? Come and be a craft market vendor today!
We are looking for heritage arts, handmade crafts including handmade/blown glass, homemade and organic bath and body products, baskets, candles, prepared culinary gifts, clothing and accessories, kitchen accessories, home goods & holiday décor, decorative painting and folk arts, prints, sculpture, woodcraft, metalwork, pottery, re-cycled/re-purposed art, outdoor & garden accessories, furniture, gourds, jewelry, leather goods, quilts & textile items, and more.
Craft Market Vendors are welcome to display and sell products, and are provided a 10’ x 10’ space for a $100 vendor fee. Vendors are responsible for collecting sales tax.
Community Organizations are the HEART of Lake Wales.
All types of community organizations are invited to participate! We are looking to include local, non-profit organizations, churches, charities, and service clubs. Community organizations are welcome to display information about what you do, share your mission, membership information, sell special drawing or event tickets, conduct family friendly activities. All groups are provided a complimentary 10’ x 10’ area. Community organizations are not permitted to sell food items, unless they wish to register as a food vendor. Political and religious groups are welcome to participate, but not permitted to solicit to visitors outside of their booth space.
Community Vendors are welcome to display information in a complimentary 10’ x 10’ area.
Registration is now open for the 2022 festival!
We are looking for delicious, festival food with a professional presentation. All types of festival food vendors are invited to participate in the festival. Food Vendors are welcome to sell food products, and are provided a space for a $300 vendor fee. Vendors are responsible for collecting sales tax.
We are looking for historical re-enactors and heritage artisans who will offer learning and sharing experiences combined with the unique artistry of objects crafted as they were in the past. Demonstration vendors are provided a complimentary space to demonstrate an authentic art or craft of their heritage art throughout each day of the festival. Vendors are welcome to sell merchandise related to these products, and are responsible for collecting sales tax. The size and scope of the demonstration area will be determined by the type of demonstration. Contact the museum for more information about becoming a historical demonstrator at 863.676.1759 or email Anderson Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
2022 Sponsors & Media Partners to date:
Sponsors: City of Lake Wales, Visit Central Florida, State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs
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 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).