TWENTYNINE PALMS — The first Pioneer Days celebration organized primarily by the city of Twentynine Palms Park and Recreation Department has been deemed a success by organizers.
Activities, including a carnival with rides provided by Paul Maurer Shows, centered around Luckie Park Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 17 to 20.
The carnival provider signed a multi-year deal to bring rides to the Pioneer Days celebration. A spokesman for the company said he is looking forward to next year’s event.
“It went extremely well,” Don Maurer, whose brother, Paul, founded the company, said. “It did a lot better than we had anticipated.
“Saturday was a really great day,” he said, adding that his best guess was that 12,000 to 15,000 people attended the four day carnival.
“The community really supported park and rec,” he said, giving praise to park and recreation employees Randy Councell and Christina Benton, who organized the weekend celebration. “They did a great job.”
Luckie Park was also home to a variety of vendors, including a beer garden hosted by Fans Sports Bar and Grill of Twentynine Palms, and two stages with bands that performed nightly.
The Bill and Bob Blues Due and Mighty Cash Cats Band played Thursday night. Hunter and the Wick’d and Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide played Friday, Daytime Moon and Dean Kalogris performed Saturday and a Gospel festival took the main stage Sunday.
“I think it was a success,” Benton said. “I think the parade went better than expected. It was my first time putting together a parade.”
The parade, which marched east on Twentynine Palms Highway to Adobe Road and then north on Adobe Road past city hall, drew dozens of entries and hundreds of spectators.
Benton noted that city staff members held an after-action meeting Monday, Oct. 21, to discuss how the celebration went and begin work planning next year’s event.
“We will make sure we invite everyone out to the planning meetings,” she said.
One problem that was encountered were heavy winds Thursday night.
Before the parade the traditional firefighters pancake breakfast drew residents and visitors to the downtown fire station to enjoy eggs, sausage, pancakes, juice and coffee.
The Old Schoolhouse Museum used the occasion to inaugurate its new multi-purpose building, which hosted this year’s old timers gathering and honored Pat Rimmington as old timer of the year.
The arm wrestling tournament, which was canceled last year, was back this year with new benefactors, the Twentynine Palms High School softball team, which was looking to buy new uniforms with proceeds of the competition.
More than a dozen wrestlers signed up to take part in the contest, held Saturday afternoon at Luckie Park.
The 29 Palms Art Gallery was able to show off members taking part in this year’s HWY 62 Open Studio Art Tours, while hosting this year’s chili dinner Saturday night.
The Pet Parade, hosted by Palms ‘N Paws Animal Shelter Sunday morning at Luckie Park, drew dozens of dogs, cats and their humans.
The Twentynine Palms Ministerial Association hosted about 30 people for sunrise services Sunday, followed by biscuits and gravy breakfast.
In addition to the Gospel Festival, Sunday afternoon saw the Kiwanis Club Lego Design Challenge, which drew a dozen contestants.