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Tourist Club of Zephyrhills marches in Founder's Day Parade
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).

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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.

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