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Milford Myhre named Lake Wales Pioneer of the Year 2019

44th Annual Pioneer Days Festival

Milford Myhre named Lake Wales Pioneer of the Year 2019

LAKE WALES, Florida – The Lake Wales History Museum hosts the 44th Annual Pioneer Days Festival on Saturday & Sunday, October 26 & 27, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day in Lake Wailes Park. This event is a heritage celebration for the whole family with free admission and free parking on both days.  During the Pioneer of Year Celebration the museum will honor Milford Myhre as the 2019 Lake Wales Pioneer of the Year.  The celebration will be held during the festival on Saturday, October 26 at 10 AM.

Milford Myhre is a carillonneur and organist and received his musical training at the University of Nebraska, (Bachelor of Music degree), the University of Michigan (Master of Music degree), and the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium.  While studying at the University of Nebraska, he first began playing the carillon at the Plymouth Congregational Church in 1950. He served as carillonneur, organist, and music instructor at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana (1957-1967) before being appointed as Bok Tower Gardens’ second carillonneur on January 1, 1968.

Mr. Myhre has been a resident of Lake Wales since 1968.  He served as the carillonneur of Bok Tower Gardens for 36 years, until his retirement in 2004.  During that time he played daily concerts at the tower, greeted thousands of visitors to the area, hosted world-renowned composers, established the first International Carillon Festival, the Carillon Fellows program, the Anton Brees Carillon Library, and the Music at Pinewood concert series.  He is also a founding board member of the Lake Wales Arts Council, the Lake Wales Museum Commission, and founder and director of the Lake Wales Chorale.  Mr. Myhre has been an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales, and consulted on the Rieger pipe organ installation in 1973.  And, he is still involved today, even though he is retired, he continues to volunteer for the Lake Wales Arts Center and attends and promotes arts events around Lake Wales.

“Milford is one of the kindest gentlemen you will ever meet”, states current carillonneur of Bok Tower Gardens, Geert D’hollander.  “He has taught me, inspired me, and been a mentor for me and so many other musicians.  And, while he has performed organ and carillon all over the world, the Lake Wales community is truly Milford’s family.”

“Milford has dedicated his life to teaching musicianship, and he taught me so many things about life in general.  He is just a very unique person, and his support of the Lake Wales community goes beyond the Tower.  He has helped the Lake Wales Arts Center, First Presbyterian Church and the history museum.  Milford is always supportive of the arts, and I just admire him for all he does,” states Bill De Turk, 3rd carillonneur of Bok Tower Gardens.

Mr. Myhre has received many awards including the Berkeley Medal in recognition of his distinguished contribution to the carillon art in 1983, and the Key to the City of Lake Wales. And this year, the City of Lake Wales issued a special proclamation declaring June 13, 2019 as Milford Myhre Recognition Day.  Milford is an integral part of Lake Wales’ community history.  Please join the museum in honoring Mr. Milford Myhre on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 10 AM in Lake Wailes Park.

Enjoy the below listed activities, entertainment, vendors, and food and beverage during Lake Wales 44th Annual Pioneer Days Festival.

Family-friendly heritage education activities offered throughout the weekend celebration include historic architecture tours of downtown Lake Wales, canoe carving, Florida Cabin Fever Quilters, Polk County Wood turners, SWEAT – Early American Trades, The Country Boutique – candle making, Thomas Geer Artisan – blacksmith, Civil War Camp – reenactors & cooking, Florida Citrus Hall of Fame with Miss Florida Citrus and citrus labels, Talako Indian Dancers, Lake Aurora Archery, Polk County Fiber Guild, a 1861 Cracker Chuck Wagon & Pioneer Camp, antique car show and parade at 12 PM on Saturday, October 26, Flywheelers antique tractor and engine exhibits, old-fashioned family games, pumpkin patch, face painting, and petting zoo.

More than 35 handmade & craft market vendors will have a range of be selling at our showcase a range of goods & services including handmade, gemstone and silver jewelry, home goods, kitchen items, gourds woven with natural materials, essential oils, organic & natural clothing & hats, handmade holiday home décor items & candles, organic health products, nail polish, handcrafted Native American flutes, pet supplies and treats, fiber art & crocheted home goods, hand spun & dyed yarn, reclaimed and recycled art and wood décor and home goods, hair accessories, Teddy bears, photography artwork, bath & body care products, greeting cards, children’s items, repurposed furniture, gourmet and homemade culinary & food gifts

Community and business vendors will have information about local real estate, churches, social & service clubs, health products, home services, financial planning, child health and safety.

Food & beverage provided by Little Joe’s Grille will have the following for sale – Pork or Chicken Kebabs, Fresh Garden & Greek Salad Bar, Mediterranean Rice, Falafels, Gyros, Pizza, Hamburgers, Corn Dogs, French Fries, Philly Cheese Steaks, Bratwurst, Italian & Polish Sausages, Funnel Cakes, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, Beer, Wine, non-alcoholic beverage options.

Entertainment will feature live music and performances each day including Nat West & Pickin’ In the Park, Lake Wales High School Highlander Band, Mountain Brew Trio, Adam Duss Experience, Studio 6 Dancers, Talako Indian Dancers, Jason Hobert on guitar, Utah Farris on flute, Bryan Rivers, Hank’s Cracker Storytelling, Craig Singleton & the Big City Band, and a Kid’s Costume Contest on Sunday, October 27 at 3 PM.

This year’s Pioneer Days Festival is made possible by the City of Lake Wales, Visit Central Florida, Advent Health, Citizens Bank & Trust, Duke Energy, Edward Jones, Rickert Properties, SEMCO Construction, Gibson Law Firm, Forni Dental, Legacy Real Estate Center, Little Joe’s Special Events, Jahna Industries, MAX 98.3, The Ledger Media Group, Haven Magazines, Polk News Sun, WUSF Public Media, 97.5 WPCV, 90.7 WMFE, Orlando Sentinel Media Group, McKibben Motorsports, Florida’s Natural, IHOP Restaurants, and Babies2Bellies.

About the Lake Wales History Museum

The Lake Wales History Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free.  Parking is free and the first floor is accessible for persons with disabilities, wheelchairs and strollers.  For more information contact the Lake Wales History Museum, 325 S Scenic Highway, Lake Wales, Florida 33853; 863-676-1759 or visit

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