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Looking Back: Pioneer Day Celebration Huge Success 

Looking Back Paso Robles

Click here to read the full front page of the October 14, 1931, Paso Robles Advertiser.

Excerpt from the Paso Robles Advertiser, Wednesday, October 14, 1931

Pioneer Day brought more real pioneer material to Paso Robles than it was thought possible or expected. The parade carried feature after feature which represented some genuine bit of history, and the modern aspects of the parade made the whole a well-rounded affair.

Only the high spots of the parade can be mentioned for lack of room, but every little bit helped to make the whole thing the success it was.

The fire department, city dads, and the new municipal band helped to get the parade underway, and the pageant of Paso Robles began.

Primeval Paso Robles was represented by a float sponsored by the Parent-Teachers and schools which showed a woodland scene, with a deer standing beneath a tree, and the children dressed to represent flowers and butterflies.

The Indians and Padres were represented by a float depicting the front of a mission and representative Indian life. Sid Bretherton posed as the mission priest.

The women’s organizations of the city planned and executed the Spanish Reign float. It was built-up in the bark with greenery, and the several Spanish senoritas and grandees riding on it sang Spanish songs as the float progressed.

Fine Display of Horses

The covered wagon float was built to conform to the covered wagon pattern. Mr. And Mrs. Glenn Hartranft rode as the indomitable pioneer couple moving their house effects and children “west.”

Approximately 75 horses were in the parade with their riders traped in riding regalia of one period or another. Frank Reasons of Santa Barbara, who was raised in this district, was mounted on a black and white spotted Arabian horse, with a very expensively mounted saddle and bridle. William Jefferey of Salinas appeared in Spanish costume with his palomino horse and Spanish equipment.

14 Mule Team

Ed Bermingham handled the reigns over the backs of 14 mules drawing three wagons. This was one of the most interesting entries in this section, and drew many comments from the observers.

The McMillan brothers of Shandon entertained the crowd with a burro and small Shetland pony during the parade and throughout the afternoon. Surreys and horse-drawn vehicles of all kinds were in this section. Ray Pelton drove the ox-team which stopped in Paso Robles, journeying south.

The Belle’s Float

The section devoted to portray Modern Paso Robles brought the float of the Belle, Ann Casper, and her attendants, Hazel Ernst, Elizabeth Hibbard, Bee Glass and Olive Street. This was beautifully made-up in white and red.

The W.C.T.U., 20-30 Club, Davis Tire Shop, Bay Bros., Navy Gas each had attractive floats, and Luke and Livingston had a tractor display. The various garages in town entered old cars, and Ray Hays rode an old 1905 motorcycle.

The San Luis Obispo Fife and Drum Corps followed the Belle’s float, followed by the marching Paso Robles Legionnaires.

Farm Bureaus Participate

The various farm bureaus of the county, the Women’s Home Department, and the 4-H Club all had decorated car entries.

Following them came a string of private decorated cars.

Prize Winners

Prizes for parade entries were as follows: Best decorated car—Miss Olive Adams; best-equipped horse and man rider—Pete Daniels of Estrella, with special honorable mention going to Mrs. Pete Daniels who rode sidesaddle with leather equipment made by herself; best-equipped horse and lady rider—Mrs. Ernest Still of Annette; most interesting old-time entry—Ed Bermingham and his 14 mule team.

Read previous Looking Back articles


This “Looking Back” view at Paso Robles history comes from one of the hundreds of local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. Several local newspapers, dating from the 1800s, have reported on local, national and world events, providing priceless historical views of our community that are not available from any other source. The Historical Society is seeking community support for the multi-phased Newspaper Preservation Project to help fund the transfer of these aged and fragile pages to microfilm and digital images. See the society website for more information about becoming a member or donating to any phase of this project.

The Paso Robles Daily News is pleased to support this important project. Watch this space for future “Looking Back” articles.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.