Deerfield’s Big Festival
What is now Pioneer Days, goes back to 1947. It began as a one-day picnic under the big trees in Pioneer Park. The Deerfield Beach Lions Club was the host back then serving up barbecued chicken, corn on the cob and homemade baked beans. It was held in the spring to celebrate the end of the vegetable growing season and called Cracker Day.
As Deerfield Beach grew in population, the event was expanded to several days in Pioneer Park highlighted by a carnival, a talent show and the Miss Cracker Day contest. Eventually, it outgrew the Lions Club and a group citizens lead by Dave McKay and Pat Miller took up the cause. It was renamed because of copyright issues, and moved it to the beach.
After a dozen years, the population and the event kept growing until they eventually turned it over to The City of Deerfield Beach who ran it for one year.
In 2014 the Kiwanis Club was asked to become Founders’ Day’s standard bearer, they accepted the challenge. In 2016, the City of Deerfield Beach again took control and again renamed the the festival to Pioneer Days. No matter the name, this is Deerfield Beach’s biggest event of the year.