Edgerton Pioneer Days in Edgerton, Missouri

by June Farquhar
Edgerton pioneers were active in Civil War disputes.

Edgerton pioneers were active in Civil War disputes.

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Each fall, people from Edgerton, Missouri -- and people from surrounding towns and cities -- gather in Edgerton the second weekend in September for a celebration of the area's raucous beginnings. Edgerton Pioneer Days is a free three-day event sponsored by businesses and organizations in the area. Vendor booths are set up to sell food; drinks; arts and crafts; jewelry; and other merchandise. Each year, there is a lineup of entertainment -- much of it musical -- and contests and competitions.

History

Edgerton Pioneer Days is a celebration of the pre-Civil War men who battled over pro- and anti-slavery issues. Edgerton was incorporated in 1883. Before then, each camp had a settlement -- McCamish (pro-slavery) and Lanesfield (anti-slavery). In pre-Civil War days, this was Shawnee Indian territory. Richard McCamish, who was pro-slavery, was the first pioneer to own a farm here. He was for slavery, and his faction was outnumbered 4-to-1 on the issue. The other camp was that of Gen. James H. Lane, the namesake of Lanesfield. The battles were fierce, and a pro-slavery band called the Missouri Ruffians became feared throughout the area. In the end, these two camps joined together to create Edgerton.

Contests and Competitions

A popular event during Edgerton Pioneer Days is the chain saw carving contest, which usually includes Eagle Ridge Saw Works chain saw demonstrations. Carvers create works of art in the shape of bears, eagles or lettering by carving into logs with chain saws. In the Little Mr./Miss Pioneer Days contest, children compete for top honors as little pioneers. There is also an annual tractor pull contest and skateboard competition. The contests and competitions are sponsored by local businesses or organizations.

Annual Features

Each year, many companies and organizations build floats and enter the Edgerton Pioneer Days Parade, and individuals polish their classic automobiles or tractors for the annual car show or the antique tractor show. This is a family day, so there are clowns, cake walks and festivals for the kids. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts often organize fundraisers that take place during Pioneer Days. In 2010, the Boy Scouts made money by selling barbecue food, and the North Platte High School football team raised funds by offering taco salad dinners. Many adult service clubs buy booth space to sell food or merchandise to raise money for other local causes.

Entertainment and Rides

There's always a lineup of bands, singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and impersonators taking to the bandstand at Edgerton Pioneer Days. Many local bands debut at the annual event, and a few favorites -- such as Elvis impersonator Bobby Simkins (whose performance is called Elvis Is in the House) -- come back year after year. Country music is a favorite in Edgerton, but local rock bands also draw crowds. Most of the kids show up mainly for the rides. Pony rides, bounce houses, slides, bungee runs and Velcro walls are available for the children.

About the Author

June Farquhar has been writing for newspapers and special publications in California since 1998. She's the recipient of a press club award for organizing and designing a 42-page "Red Ribbon Week" tabloid, which received recognition from the California State Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. Farquhar studied newspaper journalism at Bakersfield College.

Photo Credits

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