KALIDA — This year’s Pioneer Days is the 148th year for the festival, which now has reduced events due to the pandemic.
“We were certainly determined to do something,” said Bill Rieman, publicity chairman. “We knew we’d have to adjust. Our intention was to do a one-day Pioneer, and due to the increase in COVID cases in Putnam County, that is off for this year. Of course, we’ve been in contact with the Putnam County Health Department all summer long.”
The weekend-long schedule with a variety of events — craft show, race, car show and more — now includes a few events scheduled for Sunday only.
Barbecue chicken dinners will be available beginning at 10:30 a.m. at a drive-thru set up at Kalida High School. Cost is $9. The dinners will be available until they are sold out.
Pre-sale of tickets is not being done; organizers ask that customers pre-order at 419-532-3029.
“People could call in, state the number of dinners that they’d like to have, give us their name and just show up and then pay for the dinners at that time,” Rieman said.
A limited number of dinners will be made for those who do not pre-order.
Drawings will include prizes of a children’s bicycle (entrants limited to Kalida schools students this year), a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and cash.
Also on Facebook Live are two virtual events. The queen crowning will begin at 2 p.m., with queen candidates Emily Buss, Casey Rooselit and Dayna Schimmoeller competing. They are seniors at Kalida High School.
The grand marshals will be honored at 2:30 p.m. The festival is presented by the Lions Club and the Kalida Fire Department, and each group chooses a marshal. This year’s marshals are Chris Phillips, representing the firemen, and Ronnie Kahle Jr., representing the Lions Club.
“I was going to Pioneer in the 1960s,” Rieman said. “I don’t ever remember anything being reduced like this, and we cannot find anything in the history books that says it’s been reduced, and we think it’s probably the first time.”
To donate to the festival, visit GoFundMe.