Nothing signals the end of summer more keenly than the Pioneer Florida Museum and Village's "Pioneer Days" festival on Labor Day weekend.
For the 36th year, the village and museum off U.S. 301 north of Dade City will be bustling with activities, music, events and sights for every age and interest from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
All three days feature an antique show and sale, fine art show and sale, model train demonstrations, living history craft demonstrations, food, and tours of the historic buildings set among the trees on the 16-acre grounds, as well as the museum, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Each day has its own special events, too.
On Saturday, it will be the inauguration of the Paso Fino ("fine step") horse parade and exhibition, featuring what is often called "the champagne of horses," a special breed of the Barb, Spanish Jennet and Andalusian horses originally bred in Puerto Rico and Colombia.
At 2:30 p.m., a consortium of four of the largest Paso farms in Central Florida will put the horses through their paces, showing off their can-do attitude and comfortable ride. At 3 p.m., the horses will put on a show on the museum field. At 4:30 p.m., the public will be invited to take a short ride on one of the horses.
Another Saturday highlight is Chet Taylor's barbecue dinner ($7 adults, $4 children), available only with advance purchase of ticket, from 5 to 8 p.m. (Call 352-567-0262 for information.)
That will be followed by a series of storytellers recalling the olden days in Florida and some of the characters who populated the area.
Sunday's highlights include antique appraisals ($5 for two items) in the main building, a fiddling competition ($10 entry fee), Pasco Idol Line Dance and Singing Competition and a lecture by Florida Highwayman painter/historian Robert Butler.
Monday's highlights are a replica of Seminole and federal soldier encampments, regional history lectures and the Pasco Idol finals.