Pioneer Days 2013 are gone, but not forgotten in Twentynine Palms. Dan Stork observed a group of volunteers review what went wrong and what went right this year, in order to make next year’s event a success…
The recap of this year’s Pioneer Days was led by Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cynthia Truitt. She reported on several events, and prompted the group of volunteers gathered in City Hall for their comments on what went right, what not so right, and what might be done better next year. On the plus side was increased participation over last year, a net profit of about $1,600 in commemorative button sales—compared to $11 last year—the renewal of the outhouse race, and a $6,000 increase in carnival ride ticket sales. Other good news included successes at the motorcycle poker run, the pet parade, the alumni association barbecue, the old-timers’ gathering, the chili dinner at the 29 Palms Art Gallery, the barrel races sponsored by the Morongo Basin Horsemen’s Association, and the pancake breakfast for the Fire Explorers. There were some glitches and disappointments: Uncertainty generated by the federal government shutdown led to an uncertain start of the four-day event; a delayed setup by the carnival operator on the first day of the festival; the talent show was cancelled due to a lack of entries; the parade was small, and lacked bands; an Army military band that had been engaged was forced to cancel before the festival; and a lack of musical entertainment. Cynthia Truitt explained some of the obstacles faced in mounting a community celebration, among them large (and growing) liability insurance costs for bleachers and carnival rides. Attendees brainstormed ideas for next year, ranging from button design contests to cow, goat, or chicken chip bingo. Planning will begin for Pioneer Days 2014 in earnest in about six months.

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