Pioneer Day has the past come alive

(l-r) John Paul Flores, Alexes Uhri, and Lisa Flores enjoy the Petting Zoo at Pioneer Day
(l-r) Alexes Uhri, John Paul Flores, , and Lisa Flores enjoy the Petting Zoo at Pioneer Day



IMPERIAL – The Imperial Valley Pioneers Museum held their annual Pioneer Day, Saturday, Feb 1st, to overflow crowds and history enthusiasts at their location across from the Imperial Valley College.


The free event was well attended by families interested in showing their children family history and what life looked like before electronics dominated everyday living.


A people -carrier ferried folks from back parking lots to the various exhibits making the day convenient for the elderly and parents with small children.


The aroma of bar-b-cue permeated the air as did music from “The Jugless Band” entertained as bands would have in former days with banjos, fiddles, and percussion, no electronic instruments in sight.


Popular for little and big kids was Wendy’s Petting Zoo.  Alexes Uhri, 6, and John Paul Flores, 4, both of Imperial tried to not be intimidated by the miniature horse that followed a little too closely as they petted the various goats, rabbits, donkey, and poultry.


John Paul’s mother, Lisa Flores, had come with her nana, Jean Haynes, her little sister, Alexes, and her son. This was the first Pioneer Day for them.


“I didn’t even know this existed,” Lisa said pointing to all the activity surrounding her family. “My nana saw a flyer at her beauty shop. So here we are.”


John Paul and Alexes were navigating their little hands through the wire fence surrounding the docile rabbits at the Petting Zoo. “Feel how soft they are,” cooed Lisa.  “Go ahead and reach in there, they won’t bite.”


Watching was Janice Shank, taking a break in her prairie attire from churning butter. Janice’s family came from Valley pioneer stock, where all chores were manual and the science of separating the whey and the butter while churning fresh unpasteurized cow’s milk was a daily chore.


Other exhibits were a blacksmith area and show, antique engines display, hay rides, a general mercantile store with real items for sale, and an antique printing exhibit and display.


Many took advantage of the museum to see the different cultural areas and find where their families fit in and read about distant relative’s contribution to the building of Imperial Valley.