ROYAL CENTER — Food, rides and a parade are in store for the small Cass County town this weekend.
The annual Pioneer Days festival is set to take place Friday and Saturday in Rea Park on Black Lane/Ind. 16. Its traditional events — including the Saturday parade, a free concert and two tractor pulls — are back as planned, but the planning going into them may be more than most people realize, one organizer said.
“A lot of folks think that a parade, you just come together on the day it happens,” Elaine Funk said. But Funk, who helps the local Lions Club plan the parade, said preliminary invitations to march in the parade were sent out over a month ago.
The parade at 4 p.m. Saturday is meant to recognize local scholarship winners and the businesses and organizations who support the scholarship fund.
Sign-ups for the parade aren’t finalized until close to the day of, but Funk said last year, about 65 different vehicles, floats or marching groups participated.
This year, Funk expects the Pioneer High School band to march and the Logansport Shrine Club to appear on their familiar scooters.
“Most generally, there are many cars and tractors from an antique era,” Funk said. Some of the tractors are from the early to mid-1900s, in particular.
The parade’s longtime announcer, Harold Gray, passed away in January. Donna Courtice, wife of Lions Club president Brock Courtice, will announce the parade’s participants this year, Funk said.
Funk and Brock Courtice aren’t sure when the annual festival got started, though Funk suspects it’s roughly 45 years old now. She said besides being a fundraiser for area volunteer organizations, it’s also a way many locals reconnect with friends in the area.
Brock Courtice agreed, saying many parents bring their children to eat dinner and enjoy the festivities.