High Springs Pioneer Days Festival returns this weekend

The annual Pioneer Days Festival in High Springs returns Saturday and Sunday with a Heritage Village, arts, crafts, music, food, re-enactments and more.

Courtesy of the High Springs Chamber of Commerce
Published: Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 12:52 p.m.

Visitors can settle into spring via a trip to the past during the 38th Annual High Springs Pioneer Days Festival in downtown High Springs.


38th Annual High Springs Pioneer Days Festival

What: Two-day festival with arts, crafts, a Heritage Village, music, food, re-enactments and more
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Downtown High Springs
Admission: Free
Info: 386-454-3120, www.highsprings.com

The free festival on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. offers visitors a glimpse into the Pioneer era with festival food, live music and demonstrations.

“It’s the perfect family outing,” said Dot Harvey, communications manager for the High Springs Chamber of Commerce. “People can spend the whole day there.”

This year’s festival features annual favorites including the Seminole Indian Dance Circle, Kid’s Korral and the popular shoot-out re-enactments, which will take place Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m.

Visitors also can tour the Railroad Museum, Black History Museum and the brand new Historic Quilt Show in the Historic High Springs Elementary School.

“Each quilt has a story to tell,” Harvey said. “There will be hands-on experiences available.”

Cowboy Steve from Big 98 in Live Oak and Big Red of K Country will broadcast live from the festival, and 10 local music acts will perform throughout the two days.

The festival’s Heritage Village will feature different Pioneer-era demonstrations including a spinning wheel, a blacksmith and kettle corn made the old-fashioned way.

The GFWC High Springs New Century Woman’s Club is bringing back the Grimy Gulch Saloon and adding a country store that sells crafts, toys and preserves, among other goods.

Visitors also can check out the Business Expo to learn about local businesses and shop at the Farmer’s Market on Railroad Avenue next to the Visitor’s Center.

Wanda Kemp, volunteer office coordinator of the High Springs Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber expects at least 6,000 to attend the festival. Last year, the festival had between 5,500 and 6,000 visitors, Kemp said.

“This is a festival that has something for everyone,” Kemp said. “We want to bring people to High Springs and hope that they will come back again.”

The Chamber is hosting three contests this year: a pie baking contest, a costume contest and a pioneer spirit contest, in which visitors vote for the local shop that displays the best pioneer spirit in their decor and employees’ costumes.

Local restaurant chefs will judge the pies, and the winning pie will be featured in Great Outdoors Restaurant during the month of May. The winners of the costume contest will be invited to ride on the Chamber of Commerce float in the Twilight Christmas Parade in December.

“It’s just an opportunity for people to come and enjoy the nature of the town back in the pioneer days,” Harvey said. “It is the key festival of the year in High Springs.”

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