Did you know, at one time, you could take a train from Narcoossee to Kissimmee? It’s details like this that are lost on longtime residents, and never realized by newcomers and visitors.
Osceola History, formerly known as the Osceola Historical Society, aims to change that a little this weekend at the 28th annual Pioneer Day, held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek in Kissimmee. As always, admission and parking are free.
The tradition started in 1991 by the Historical Society as a way to share the late 19th century’s rich history with present-day residents and visitors. It’s a chance to learn about Osceola County’s pioneer ranching and steamboating families, and experience centuries-old pioneer life.
Those pioneers did everything by hand, including washing laundry, woodwork and making butter, which will be on display, as well as early metalwork and rope winding in a blacksmith shop. Visitors will get to meet members of everyday pioneer life in character, such as the village train station manager and the proprietor of the general store, who would sell you what’s in stock on the shelves — the things needed for every day past-day Osceola County life like canned goods and tools — and order what’s not there from his handy-dandy catalog. He can have it to you in only a month!
Pioneer Village, a collection of historical buildings — some authentic, like the Lanier House, Tyson House, Partin Family House and the Cadman Complex, which also includes the oldest citrus fruit packing house in the world, and some are re-creations, showcasing a church, schoolhouse, train depot, and general store from the period — is tucked back off Old Vineland Road on Babb Road just north of U.S. Highway 192. Aside from signs, it’s not easy to find.
The family-friendly event will feature live music from Sandy Back Porch, a pick ‘n fiddle bluegrass band, a kids’ craft zone, a real Florida Market, and pioneer life re-enactors and demonstrations. Lunch will be served the Pavilion, with seating for 150 individuals, which offers shade and a comfortable spot.