The History of Pioneer Day
October is a special time of year in the charming town of Paso Robles. The leaves begin to turn beautiful shades of red and orange, the wineries prepare for a bountiful harvest season, and the high school football team battles to win their Homecoming game under the Friday night lights. All in all, the entire town is filled with Paso Robles pride, making it the perfect time to celebrate it’s rich history and culture. This year, join us in honoring the 86th anniversary of the community’s annual Pioneer Day Parade on Saturday, October 8th. But first, here’s what you need to know:
The First Pioneer Day: Giving Thanks
Held on October 12th, 1931, the first Pioneer Day was organized by community volunteers working towards a common goal of commemorating the heritage of Paso Robles and providing a day of community friendship, relying on generous donations of time and money from local businesses, churches, service organizations, and individuals.
Pioneer Day also became a way for businesses to thank everyone who supports the professional community throughout the year. Business owners closed their shops and restaurants in order to allow their employees to participate in the activities and enjoy the day with their families.
Free Lunch for All
In another effort to show appreciation for the hard working community members of Paso Robles, it was decided that there would be no charges throughout the day of celebration. Instead, the entire day is funded by the business people and free to the public in the spirit of friendship and thanksgiving. Those that say, “there’s no such thing as free lunch” obviously never visited Paso Robles on Pioneer Day! Commercial concessions are nowhere in sight, but you’ll still get fed—a lot.
Starting at 6 a.m., volunteers from the Paso Robles Lions Club cook 1,200 pounds of beans, 500 pounds of beef, 100 pounds of bell peppers, 35 pounds of seasoning, 40 pounds of salt, and plenty of water together in six 100-gallon kettles and six 53-gallon kettles to feed the dedicated citizens and their loved ones. The Free Bean Feed starts at high noon this Saturday, so be sure to bring your own cup and spoon to enjoy this beloved tradition.
Floats, antique tractors, horse-drawn wagons, vintage cars, military vehicles, and the high school marching band will all weave their way up and down the streets of downtown Paso Robles beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Bring lawn chairs, hats, and sunscreen to claim your place in the shade for a perfect view of the parade. Starting at 16th and Spring Street, the parade route passes right by the beautiful Paso Robles Inn and ends surrounding the Paso Robles City Park.
Since Pioneer Day is all about celebrating our history, stop in for breakfast before the parade and enjoy the nostalgic feel of the Coffee Shop, originally constructed in 1942, at the historic Paso Robles Inn.