Parade, fiesta set for Pioneer Day on Saturday
More people than ever before may call Wellton home these days, but once a year the growing community east of Yuma celebrates its truly small small-town roots.
That event is Pioneer Day, and it's happening this year on Saturday.
“This is our chance to get the community involved, gather everyone together, and celebrate the fact that we are a small town,” said Sandra Jones, coordinator for Pioneer Day. “The small-town spirit is alive and thriving in Wellton. We still wave at everyone you pass, because you usually know everyone you pass. There are some new faces, but you get to know them, too!”
The event kicks off Saturday with a parade, followed by a fiesta.
This celebration marks the 36th year that the popular event has been hosted by the Town of Wellton and Wellton Parks and Recreation.
This year's theme is “A Pioneer Adventure” and the grand marshals are Laura and David Noel.
About 1,500 people attend Pioneer Day each year, a fact that tickles organizers.
“I mean, 1,000 would be ‘wow!'” Jones said. “We have people come from Yuma and Dateland for Pioneer Day. Some folks in Dateland get up at 5 a.m. just to be here in time for the parade.”
The parade starts at 10 a.m., taking off from the west end of town along Los Angeles Avenue. The procession will end at Butterfield Park on Dome Street.
“This year we have 52 entries. Last year we had 55 and before that 75 entries,” Jones said. “It's slowly getting smaller, and I don't know why.”
She added that the Pioneer Day boasts a fact that's quite brag-worthy.
“We still let you throw candy to kids!” she said, proudly. “We think we're one of the only ones around that still let you.”
Folks still wanting to join the parade should know that it's never too late to line up and join the fun.
“The only thing is that they'll be at the end of the parade, but it's not a problem,” Jones explained. “We have people show up as the parade is starting and we just say ‘Here's a number! Get in line and have fun.'”
The fiesta will begin at 10 a.m. in Butterfield Park, with food booths will be selling everything from pit barbecue to hamburgers and hot dogs.
“We have nine food booths this year. That's a lot for us,” Jones said. “There will also be some demonstration booths and the high school will be doing game booths with the cake spin and a duck pond. Plus, there will be fry bread. You can't have a festival without fry bread.”
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