47th Annual Pioneer Days downtown this Saturday

The Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce will present the 47th annual Pioneer Days Saturday, October 1, with the annual carnival getting underway Thursday evening and continuing through Saturday’s festival.

Carnival games and rides will operate in the downtown area from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday evenings, and the fun will continue on Saturday. Thursday and Friday, $20 wristbands will be sold. A wristband gains riders at least 36 inches tall access to all the rides.

Opening ceremonies for this year’s festival will be held at 8:50 a.m. Saturday with Mayor Jerry Barker welcoming those in attendance and booths opening to the public.
Vendors will offer food, drinks, crafts, novelties and other items for sale throughout the downtown area. Entertainment is also scheduled throughout the day.

The annual Pioneer Days parade always draws the day’s biggest crowd, and lineup will begin around 1:30 p.m. with the parade expected to begin at about 2:30 p.m.

The parade will travel through downtown streets and include VIP vehicles, dancers, the Whitney High School band, first responders, floats designed by local organizations and businesses, clowns, horses and much more.

Spectators are asked to stay close to sidewalks and out of streets for safety.

This year’s festival will be held the same weekend as Whitney’s homecoming football game, and the chamber invites any former Whitney High School students participating in homecoming activities or reunions to join in the fun downtown.

A complete schedule of events can be found in the center spread of this edition.

A film crew will obtain footage of Whitney’s Pioneer Days for a new television station out of Houston. This filmed event will be the first in a series of shows directed and produced by Sue Land and her production company, Chalk Peak Productions.

Further information on the footage that could potentially lead to a larger project involving Whitney’s history will be published in a future issue of The Lakelander Newspaper.

For more information or questions about any of this year’s activities, contact the Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce at 254-694-2540.

Longtime Whitney educator named parade grand marshal

Selected as grand marshal of this year’s Pioneer Days parade was Betty Ayers Higginbotham.

This year’s honoree has lived in Whitney for 57 years, teaching the fourth and fifth grades for 28 of those years. In 1991, she became principal of Whitney Elementary School.

She retired in 2001 after 38 years in the education system. She loved every student who was in a class of hers and says that today she still holds every one of them in her heart.

After being in retirement for several years, she returned to teaching as a substitute teacher. She finally retired completely, stating that the students deserved younger teachers, but she loved every minute she spent with them in the classroom.

Many in the Whitney community were her students, and they now have children and even grandchildren of their own.

Her own two children, Mark Ayers and April McKinney, both graduated from Whitney High School, where April is the high school librarian. Her three granddaughters, Abigail Ayers, Madeline Ayers Justice and Macy McKinney, also graduated from Whitney.

Baby photo contest set for Saturday

Part of this year’s Pioneer Days contests and festivities will be a baby photo contest for children under the age of four in the Hill County area.

Photos will be displayed during the annual festival in downtown Whitney in the windows of The Lakelander Newspaper office. The winners will be announced during the event.

Judges will choose first through third place winners, and the public will choose a fan favorite. The fan favorite will be a fund raiser, and all the money raised will be donated to the Lake Whitney Food Bank. Votes will be $1 each, and votes can be placed at the Pioneer Days festival.

For more information, call Sheri Rogers at 254-205-8756.

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