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Updated: 08/28/2013 08:00:02AM

Pioneer Days— Englewood Goes Hollywood

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FAME Founder Denise Pivovar introduced candidates for Englewood’s Mayor for a Day Contest at the Debates on Aug. 13 at Englewoods on Dearborn. Candidates run in support of their favorite charities and FAME (Friends for the Advancement of Musical Education).


Marshall Dillon (John Mead) and Miss Kitty (Joni Hyde) characters from Gunsmoke will ride on the Englewood Area Cancer Foundation’s float along with cast members Lou Long, Erik Sandness, Erin Halstead, Karen Current, Adele Bourcier, Rob Hipps and Diane Schmitz.


EARS (Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary) volunteers will ride as Hollywood’s “Our Gang” with EARS mascot Rascal as Petey and Adam Ballentyne as Alfalfa. A few of the 776 Riders representing Rascal’s gang are: Ben Chen, Pete Kauk, Allan Adamson and Gary Hines.

List of Mayoral candidates: Jim Laurent for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, Tony Babington for United Way of S. Sarasota County, Lance Holden for Special Olympics/Charlotte County, Diana Walston for Lemon Bay HS Band, John Pridy for Kids’ Needs of Greater Englewood, Katie Simpson for Leukemia and Lymphma Socity, and John Mead for Englewood Area Cancer Foundation. The winner will be crowned on Sat. Aug. 31 during the Pioneer Day’s Cardboard Boat Races and be a prominant part of the Pioneer Days Parade.

5. Pioneer Days Parade Grand Marshall Jean Berlin. The J. M. Berlin/Rotary Skate Park, located at Oyster Creek Regional Park, was built in 2007 in honor of Berlin’s late husband. Jean Berlin and the Englewood, Placida, and Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Clubs raised over $9,000 to build the state-of-the art skate park


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Englewood’s very first Pioneer Days, a one-day festival honoring families who struggled to settle the area in the late 1800s-early 1900s was held in 1956. Newspaper editor, Jo Cortes, wanted an event that would draw visitors to the tiny town of Englewood and energize local shop owners at the end of a slow summer season. Townspeople pulled together to create that first exciting festival 57 years ago, and this year organizers continue the tradition by promising an extra special celebration — “two weeks of fun with two days of park festivities.” Jean Airey and co-chairmen Elaine Schweitzer and Chris Phelps began planning for this year’s events in January. “Pioneer Days is organized by a motley crew of volunteers who want Pioneer Days to be fun for all ages,” explained Airey. “We are delighted that each year more groups are taking part, putting on events during the week as well as joining in the final parade celebration.” On Sept. 1 and 2 West Dearborn Street will close for two days, and at Pioneer and Garrett Parks music, vendors, contests and entertainment will run from 2 p.m. -9 p.m. Sunday and from 9 a.m.-
3 p.m. Monday. EARS (Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary) mascot, Rascal (as Petey) along with Alfalfa (Adam Ballentyne) and the “Our Gang” 776 Riders will ride in the parade and later serve at the beer concession booth. Proceeds will benefit EARS. A car show will take place from 3 p.m.- 8 p.m. on Sept. 1 and noon-3 p.m. on Sept. 2. This year’s theme “Englewood goes Hollywood— the Hidden History of Englewood’s Past” is a reminder that Englewood has Hollywood connections from Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to Bobby Vinton, Dan Rowan and Donna Summer.

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