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Pioneer Club to hold annual picnic

By Staff | Mar 13, 2019

If you were a resident of Lee County 50 or more years ago, congratulations. You are a pioneer and you deserve to be celebrated.

The Pioneer Club of Lee County will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding on Saturday, April 27, in the Tinsley Pavilion at the Lee County Civic Center.

The event has turned into one of the biggest social events of the year. Many of the old families of Lee County get together annually to catch up on each other’s lives and to have lunch together.

“After 50 years, you’re one of us after that. There are so many people who come to this every year,” said Theresa Clements, a member of the Pioneer Club Committee. “There’s such Southern hospitality that it feels like a family reunion.”

Approximately 1,200 invitations are mailed out for the picnic, most of which are sent to local residents. More than half, between 600 and 700 people, usually attend.

The event this year will honor the Classes of 1969 from Alva, Bishop Verot, Cypress Lake, Dunbar, Fort Myers and North Fort Myers high schools on their 50-year class reunions.

Also to be recognized will be the eldest pioneer man and woman born in Lee County; the couple married the longest (both spouses need to be in attendance); the pioneer who traveled the longest distance to the picnic; and the eldest person in attendance.

“The more you look around, the more people you see, and it’s a fabulous way to get to know people,” Clements said. “We grew up here and went to school with so many different people. I love meeting so many different people and seeing a lot of old friends.”

The Pioneer Club of Lee County was founded in 1949 by R.A. Henderson, Jr. to honor those living persons who had been residents of old Lee County for 50 or more years. The initial meeting was held in 1950 at Lions Park on Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers.

Registration and visiting will begin at 10 a.m., with lunch to be served at noon followed by presentations and a raffle at 1 p.m.

Barbecue chicken or pork, baked beans, coleslaw, rolls, chocolate chip cookies and iced tea or lemonade are available to the attendees for $10 per plate.

The Lee Civic Center is at 11831 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers.

For registration info, email pioneerleecounty@gmail.com or you may register the day of the picnic. There are no membership dues. The eligibility requirement for membership is that the person was a resident of Lee County prior to 1969.

Also coming up for Lee pioneers in April:

Members of the Pioneer Club who present their membership card will receive free general admission to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates on April 25 to 27, and the Burroughs Home and Garden Tour April 25 at 11 a.m. Call 337-9505 for the Burroughs Home tour.

Members also can get free general admission to the IMAG History and Science Center from April 25 to 28 through the generosity of the city of Fort Myers.