Negaunee’s Pioneer Days festival was a yooper’s utopia of food, fireworks, and fun. Pioneer Days is a Negaunee-specific five-day fiesta spanning from July 8th through to the 13th that I would definitely recommend checking out if you haven’t. Yesterday was the day I set aside to experience all the sights and sounds of the festival, and I’m glad I did; I could tell that everyone had gone all-out to make that day the equinox of the whole event. I must admit my expectations were low, but this small town’s festivities honestly blew me away! From a large and interesting parade to awe-inspiring fireworks over Teal Lake, Pioneer days definitely exceeded my expectations—I had an absolutely lovely time.
My lovely time began in the morning, at the start of the parade. A plethora of people, watching: children lining the streets, unable to restrain their excitement; parents lining the lines of children, restraining the excitement for them; casual observers with their older children, hauling lawn chairs, casually observing. I think I would have been interested even if there was no parade, what with all the people-watching I did. But thank goodness, the parade did finally commence on schedule. I was surprised by how large the parade was; I really enjoyed the variety of floats and musicians participating, and the large amounts of candy being lightly pelted at my feet. My favorite part was the local Vista Theatre’s float, consisting of what looked like a tea party scene straight from a Victorian novel. And I couldn’t help but be slightly entranced by the droning of the marching bagpipe fleet, however annoying the idea of a band of bagpipe players is. But what else can I really say about a parade? You had to be there. (Or, you can check out some pictures I took in the photo gallery!)
In the afternoon I found myself exploring the tents set up on Teal Lake’s shoreline. I had originally planned to stay home, introvert that I am, but driving past I happened to catch a whiff of what was happening. The smell of families barbequing on the beach mixed with vendors selling a variety of greasy, delicious goods lured me in. I’m definitely a sucker for the olfactory, and man was I in olfactory heaven! Elephant ears, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries galore! It was probably a good thing that I had forgotten my wallet, although I was very sad about it at the time. At least smelling is free.
The beginning of the end of the day began with carloads of people searching for the perfect viewing position, hours before the middle of the day had ended. At first I was surprised to see these people line up so early, but I soon realized that these were the smart people. By the beginning of the fireworks, a huge line of cars had formed on both sides of US 41, all filled with people hoping to have the perfect viewing spot. I hate dealing with that much traffic, but I’m glad I decided to power through it. The fireworks were spectacular!
I’ve probably gushed enough about how awesome Pioneer Days really is, but don’t take my word for it. Check out the fireworks, and maybe plan to attend next year’s parade! In the meantime, be sure to check out all the pictures I’ve posted.