Pioneer Days

A record breaking crowd showed up for the Pioneer Festival in Mayo, Florida. As one of the smallest counties in the state of Florida population-wise, this event was huge. Around 10,000 people packed into the tiny town of Mayo for Pioneer Days.

Residents were trying the age-old tradition of making cane syrup, while others stuck to the southern fried favorite known as pork rinds. Food was everywhere from curly fries to apple dumplings and Italian sausages, but the food was not the biggest draw here; this is a homecoming.

“This is the main event. It's just good to see people come back home and visit,” said Gail Garrard, the Pioneer Day organizer.

Drew Bell, Jr. added, “There’s not a lot of industry here so they go off getting jobs and on holidays and special occasions they come back."

Mayo is the epitome of small town America. There are 900 residents living here, 7,000 in the entire county, so you do the math; there are more people here at the festival than there are living in this area. It's hard to believe when the crowd clears there will be just a few hundred people left in this town, but for some residents that is the way they like it.

“Well, I like the peace and quietness here," says one.

Still, the economy business owners and town leaders say they're happy with the growth of the festival. Young or old, you're just the right age for Pioneer Day. This is the 25th anniversary for the festival. Organizers say this was the biggest one yet.


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