What is Pioneer Day?
Thanking the Community
Pioneer Day 2024 marks the 94th anniversary of our Community's greatest celebration. Many places have a day with a parade and some type of festivities centered upon a local crop, product or historical event. Our Pioneer Day is unique in both why it occurs and the way it occurs. It should also be noted that while many other communities have unfortunately seen their local events grossly commercialized, or sadly discontinued; ours continues to occur almost as it was originally intended.
The first Pioneer Day was held on October 12, 1931. It was organized by community volunteers working with generous donations of time, materials and money from individuals, businesses, churches and service organizations. Their goal was to provide a day of community friendship and a commemoration of the heritage of the Paso Robles area. It would also become a day set aside to say "Thank You" to all of the people who support the business and professional community
of the area throughout the year. Most businesses closed so that their employees could enjoy and participate in the activities and family reunions. There were to be no charges for any of the events, no commercial concessions and lunch would be provided at no cost.
It's Unique... THE WHOLE DAY IS FREE and entirely funded by the business people and dedicated citizens of our area who say: "Leave Your Pocketbook at Home" Come, celebrate in friendship!
Pioneer Day is one of Paso's greatest celebrations and oldest traditions, bringing visitors and longtime locals together for a day full of festivities, history, and beans.
Smooth Puss Badge
The Smooth Puss badge has been a long Pioneer Day tradition. The income from the sale of badges has helped to support Pioneer Day activities for many, many years.
In the early days most of the area's farmers, cowboys and ranchers wore beards. In contrast the merchants in town were generally clean shaven. The merchants chose to let their facial hair grow during the month before Pioneer Day as a token of respect, and to show camaraderie with the farmers and ranchers. If for some reason those watching along the parade route chose not to participate, they could purchase a "Smooth Puss" badge and be exempt from the penalties.
During the day of the parade a wagon known as the "Hoosegow" would wander the parade route searching for men who were clean shaven and were not wearing a "Smooth Puss" badge. If caught, you would be immediately locked up in the "Hoosegow", paraded around the route, and after the parade taken to the City Park and dunked in a horse trough.
Today this tradition still exists, less the dunking in the horse trough; but one still could be locked up in the "Hoosegow" and paraded around for having a "Smooth Puss" and not wearing a badge.
Today the Pioneer Day Committee has badges for both men and women. The price for the badge has remained the same for nearly 30 years, and is still only $1. Smooth Puss badges can be purchased along the parade route, from Pioneer Day Committee Members, and from the Paso Robles Main Street Office at 835 12th Street "D" on "Norma's Way" (behind the building).
Pioneer Day Committee
The parade and related festivities wouldn't take place without our dedicated board of directors and Pioneer Day Committee officers.
Board of Directors
Tami (Bertoni) Smith
Chairman: Lori Woods
Vice-Chairman: Sarah Kramer
Recording Secretary: Shan McCornack
Corresponding Secretary: Vacant
Treasurer: Fran Tognazzini
Publicity Director: Karli Twisselman
Immediate Past Chair: Margaret Wicks
Past Chairman: Les Stemper
Past Chairman: Paul Viborg
Past Chairman: Tom Madden
Past Chairman: Mark Perry
Past Chairman: Wade Taylor
Past Chairman: Steve Hansen