Zephyrhills Tourist Club marches in Founder's Day Parade
Founder's Day Parade - Zephyrhills
This Pasco County town originated Founder's Day
Parade in September 1949 to highlight the work of founder Captain
Jeffries, who incorporated in 1910 the town of Abbot Station, which
was later renamed Zephyrhills. Jeffries was intent on making Abbot
Station a home for Civil War veterans.
The first Founder's Day was held in September 1949,
and was called Pioneer Day, sponsored by the Zephryhills Garden and
Women's Clubs. The parade was tackled by hurricane winds, but even
Mother Nature could not dampen the crowd's spirits. One of the
women involved, the late Willa Rice, was president of the garden
club, who later became the first woman to serve on the city
council, and then the city's major. Another of the women, the late
Alice Hall, held up a train station with a sawed off shot gun, as
part of the festivities. She later served as the parade's grand
marshal. In 1999, the Hall was designated as a "Great Floridian
2000," representing Zephyrhills, by the League of Cities.
The Lion's Club thought it would be the in the best
interest of Zephyrhills to celebrate subsequent parades in March to
avoid storms. Each year, the event has grown in interest and
activities. In 1952, a gopher race and water fight were part of the
day's events. Pony rides were added in 1955, and in 1978, horses
were in the parade. The Founder's Day Parade is noted for its
antique and classic cars, including hot rods, and area high school
bands. Founders Day has been produced by the Zephyrhills Chamber of
Commerce since the 1980s.
Documentation includes a Founder's Day program and
newspaper supplement, report and photographs.
Originally submitted by: Michael Bilirakis, Representative (9th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.