For 115 years in August, the Skagit County Pioneer Association members have been gathering to share memories, honor noteworthy pioneer families and share a picnic dinner. This year’s Pioneer Picnic and general meeting is happening Aug. 1 at Pioneer Park, near the Rainbow Bridge in La Conner.
Association President Dan Royal and member Bill Reynolds recently announced the honorees.
The Fisher Family of Burlington will be recognized as this year’s Pioneer Family of the Year, for its many contributions to Skagit County agriculture and commerce and to the timber and construction industries dating back to the 1890s.
The DeGoede Family will be honored for contributing to the Pioneer Spirit of Skagit County. The family is recognized internationally as innovators in the bulb industry and as instrumental in launching the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Jeannette DeGoede and her late husband, Tom, who passed in June, co-founded Tulip Town, which is among the county’s most popular attractions.
The late Tom DeGoede grew up adoring the vibrant colors of tulip fields in his native Holland.
Although the barbecue salmon dinner picnic with live music from the Leif and Sunnie Accordion Duo begins at 11:15 a.m., those who come earlier can peruse historic photographs of this year’s honored families, vintage vehicles and historic information, and take the opportunity to reminisce with old-timers and newcomers alike.
The picnic and meeting are open to anyone, especially those interested in area history and its heritage.
Picnic tickets cost $15 and include a colorful ribbon, program, historian’s memorial pamphlet. The complete barbecue salmon dinner will be prepared by the Good Girls and served by La Conner Civic Garden Club members. La Conner Sunrise Food Bank will offer beverages, with proceeds going to its various projects.
Skagit County Historical Society & Museum will display publications related to Skagit County history in a tent, where staff can field questions about Skagit-area history. Territorial Daughters and Skagit Valley Genealogical Society volunteers will be ready to answer questions attendees might have about their Skagit County ancestors.
The business meeting at 12:45 p.m. will include an invocation, flag salute and group singing. After brief officer reports, a memorial tribute for departed pioneers will be offered, honored families will be recognized and elections for association officers will be held.
After the picnic and meeting, Skagit County Historical Museum in La Conner will be open, and admission will be free Aug. 1-4 with the Pioneer Picnic ribbon.
The Skagit County Pioneer Association was founded in 1891, but with requirements so restrictive it soon dissolved. In 1904, a concerned group from Sedro-Woolley revived the Association under less stringent guidelines, and the annual meetings and picnics have been held regularly ever since.