Night at the Museum with AM1250. Cutting oats just before the rain.

Pioneer Days 2012 was successful in a number of respects. Nearly 5800 people came to participate in the festivities. This represents an increase of about 5% over last year’s attendance. Total revenue for the event also saw a healthy increase. In order to develop our theme, A Child’s World, From Slate to Tablet, we established a Kidz Tent featuring all kinds of kids’ entertainment. This tent proved to be quite popular with young families. These and other successes leave us feeling good about this year’s signature festival.

A festival like this doesn’t just happen. The contributions of many people and organizations need to be acknowledged. First and foremost the contributions of our staff members need to be recognized. Working at Mennonite Heritage Village means working every long weekend of the summer. And the four day Pioneer Days weekend is particularly long. Additionally, the planning, preparation and volunteer recruitment for this festival requires weeks of work prior to the event. Our staff, under the coordinating leadership of Anne Toews, are to be thanked.

Volunteers are also essential to the success of Pioneer Days. From admission sales to food services to parking supervision and many other areas, the volunteers are key. MHV is a not-for-profit and could not afford to hire staff to carry out all the functions that the volunteers do. There are more than 100 volunteer positions to be filled daily. We thank all our volunteers for taking time out of their long weekend to support this museum.

Some volunteers come in groups or clubs. The MHV Auxiliary plays a key role in food services in making and serving waffles with vanilla sauce, and watermelon and rollkuchen. The Steinbach and Area Garden Club creates and maintains our flower gardens and our vegetable garden. The Southeast Draft Horse Association provides horse-powered demonstrations and wagon rides for our guests. Steam Club 71 runs their steam-powered tractor for log sawing, threshing and plowing demonstrations. And the Southeast Implement Collectors populate our tractor exhibit with their restored vintage tractors. We are grateful for the support of these groups.

The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce makes a special and unique contribution to our festival by organizing and delivering a spectacular parade which draws thousands of observers. Someone told me that the Steinbach Pioneer Days Parade was better than the Calgary Stampede parade. Thank you, Steinbach Chamber of Commerce and everyone who made our parade a success.

The business community provides support for Pioneer Days through sponsorship of our festival events. Our sponsorship program is an important source of funding for MHV. We thank the business community for their support at all levels.

Last but not least we are grateful for the support of all the guests who chose to attend Pioneer Days. Our visitors support the museum through their purchases of admission passes, food, gifts, souvenirs and rides. They also support MHV by bringing their friends and family to visit and by telling others of the positive experiences they enjoyed at Pioneer Days. A big thank-you goes out to all 5800 visitors who attended this year.

It is evident that no one person or group makes this place succeed. It is the coming together of a large support community that provides the resources and the momentum needed. We are thankful for our entire support community.

This is how Grandma did laundry Waffles and visiting. What could be better?

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About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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