The Annual Pioneer Days Festival is synonymous with Lake Wales’ history and culture, and will celebrate the heritage of the greater Polk County community. The two-day event in late October features free admission along the shores of Lake Wailes Lake with over 100 heritage, artisan, craft and community vendors, heritage arts demonstrations and reenactors, antique car and tractor display, live music and entertainment, festival food & beverages, along with a Pioneer Beer Garden, children and family activities. The Pioneer Days Festival highlights and honors pioneers from the past and presents an annual recognition award to a notable resident of historical contributions to the community during the festival. The event draws a diverse audience of visitors and residents to the area, and greatly contributes to the cultural backdrop of Lake Wales and the greater Polk County region.




During the Pioneer of Year Celebration the museum will honor Milford Myhre as the 2019 Lake Wales Pioneer of the Year.  The celebration will be held during the festival on Saturday, October 26 at 10 AM.

Milford Myhre is a carillonneur and organist and received his musical training at the University of Nebraska, (Bachelor of Music degree), the University of Michigan (Master of Music degree), and the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium.  While studying at the University of Nebraska, he first began playing the carillon at the Plymouth Congregational Church in 1950. He served as carillonneur, organist, and music instructor at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana (1957-1967) before being appointed as Bok Tower Gardens’ second carillonneur on January 1, 1968.

Mr. Myhre has been a resident of Lake Wales since 1968.  He served as the carillonneur of Bok Tower Gardens for 36 years, until his retirement in 2004.  During that time he played daily concerts at the tower, greeted thousands of visitors to the area, hosted world-renowned composers, established the first International Carillon Festival, the Carillon Fellows program, the Anton Brees Carillon Library, and the Music at Pinewood concert series.  He is also a founding board member of the Lake Wales Arts Council, the Lake Wales Museum Commission, and founder and director of the Lake Wales Chorale.  Mr. Myhre has been an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales, and consulted on the Rieger pipe organ installation in 1973.  And, he is still involved today, even though he is retired, he continues to volunteer for the Lake Wales Arts Center and attends and promotes arts events around Lake Wales. 

“Milford is one of the kindest gentlemen you will ever meet”, states current carillonneur of Bok Tower Gardens, Geert D’hollander.  “He has taught me, inspired me, and been a mentor for me and so many other musicians.  And, while he has performed organ and carillon all over the world, the Lake Wales community is truly Milford’s family.”

“Milford has dedicated his life to teaching musicianship, and he taught me so many things about life in general.  He is just a very unique person, and his support of the Lake Wales community goes beyond the Tower.  He has helped the Lake Wales Arts Center, First Presbyterian Church and the history museum.  Milford is always supportive of the arts, and I just admire him for all he does,” states Bill De Turk, 3rd carillonneur of Bok Tower Gardens.

Mr. Myhre has received many awards including the Berkeley Medal in recognition of his distinguished contribution to the carillon art in 1983, and the Key to the City of Lake Wales. And this year, the City of Lake Wales issued a special proclamation declaring June 13, 2019 as Milford Myhre Recognition Day. Milford is an integral part of Lake Wales’ community history.  Please join the museum in honoring Mr. Milford Myhre on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 10 AM in Lake Wailes Park.




Saturday, October 26

9 - 10 am - Nat West  & Pickin' In the Park

10 - 11 AM - Pioneer of the Year Celebration

11 - 11:30 AM - Lake Wales High School Highlander Band

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM - Mountain Brew Trio

12 PM - Antique Car Parade

1:30 - 2 PM - Talako Indian Dancers

2 - 5 PM - Adam Duss Duo

3 PM - Studio 6 Dancers

Sunday, October 27

9 - 11 AM - Jason Hobert

11 - 11:30 AM - Utah Farris on Flute

11:30 AM - 1 PM - Bryan Rivers

1 - 2 PM - Hank's Cracker Storytelling

2 - 5 PM - Craig Singleton & the Big City Band

3 PM - Kid's Costume Contest & Parade


Shop and discovery homemade, artisanal, kitschy, old-fashioned, handcrafted arts and heritage craft vendors with goods for sale.  

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

Community and business vendors will have information about local real estate, churches, social & service clubs, health products, home services, financial planning, child health and safety.



Heritage education activities offered throughout the weekend celebration include historic architecture tours of downtown Lake Wales, canoe carving, Polk County Wood turners, SWEAT – Early American Trades, The Country Boutique – candle making, Thomas Geer Artisan - blacksmith, Civil War Camp – reenactors & cooking, Florida Citrus Hall of Fame with Miss Florida Citrus and citrus labels, Talako Indian Dancers, Lake Aurora Archery, Polk County Fiber Guild, a 1861 Cracker Chuck Wagon & Pioneer Camp, Funerary & Historic Cemetery Display, Pine Needle Baskets antique car show and parade at 12 PM on Saturday, October 26, Flywheelers antique tractor, engine exhibits, and the museum’s own 1985 fire truck.

Family friendly activities offered include our Pumpkin Patch full of pumpkins for sale, fall crafts, a corn crib, old-fashioned games, hay pit, face painting, and live animal petting zoo. 

Kids Costume Contest will be on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 3 PM.  Children ages 3-12 are invited to dress up and enter for a chance to win prizes for the following categories: Cutest Costume, Most Spooky, Most Original, and Best Overall.



Eat Fresh - Enjoy freshly prepared and grilled options all day long made by our festival food vendors!  Menu options will include Pork or Chicken Kebabs, Fresh Garden & Greek Salad Bar, Mediterranean Rice, Falafels, Gyros, Pizza, Hamburgers, Corn Dogs, French Fries, Philly Cheese Steaks, Bratwurst, Italian & Polish Sausages, Funnel Cakes, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade & more to come!  $4 - 14

Good Drinks - Craft & Domestic Beer Favorites, Wine, Sodas, Water & more to come! $3 - 5




Vendor registration is now closed.  

Categories: Heritage Art & Craft Vendor, Community Vendor, Historical Demonstrations & Re-enactors, Food Vendor

Heritage Art & Craft Vendor

This year’s Pioneer Days Festival aims to enhance the variety and presence of artisan and craft vendors. 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, and holiday décor, decorative painting and folk arts, sculpture, woodcraft, metalwork, pottery, outdoor & garden accessories, furniture, gourds, jewelry, leather goods, quilts & textile items.

Heritage art and craft 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.

Small Town, Big Heart Community Vendor

This year’s Pioneer Days Festival aims to enhance the variety and presence of our fellow community organizations, non-profits, churches, charities, and service clubs. Community vendors are welcome to display information about their organization, and are provided a complimentary 10’ x 10’ space. Community vendors are not permitted to sell any major food items. Political and religious groups are welcome to participate, but are not permitted to solicit to visitors outside of the booth space.

Activities and ideas for your space include:

Share general and membership information about your organization

Sell drawing opportunities for special prizes or 50/50 drawing

Selling baked goods

Conduct children and family activities that enhance the Pioneer Days heritage festival theme, within the booth space.

Historical Demonstrations & Re-enactors

This year’s Pioneer Days Festival aims to enhance the variety and presence of authentic, historical and educational demonstrations. 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 provided a complimentary space to demonstration 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.

Food & Beverage Vendor

All food offerings will be handled by Little Joe’s Events. All food vendors interested in participating in the festival must contact Little Joe’s directly.


Become a sponsor and support local heritage.

Sponsorship funds 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 $25,000 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.

We would love to count you among our contributors and donors.

Sponsors and business partners receive a complimentary 10' x 10' space at the festival to promote your business. Business vendors are welcome to display and sell products, and give out information about their business. Vendors welcome to sell merchandise related to these products, and are responsible for collecting sales tax. This category includes for-profit, direct sales and all local community businesses.

Sponsorship Packet

Sponsor & Business Vendor Information Sheet



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).

Volunteer Application Form



Check out great places to stay overnight, dine, shops and see while you're in the Lake Wales for the weekend!  

Click here for our Visiting Lake Wales page.



Pioneer Days Festival takes place in Lake Wailes Park located at 33 North Lakeshore Blvd in Lake Wales, Florida. Parking is free, and located next to the festival areas at Lake Wailes Park. Accessible parking and complimentary shuttles for persons with disabilities will be available.

Map to Lake Wailes Park