School homecomings may bring a few alumni together, but the Clay County Pioneer Reunion brings the entire county back home.
"Pioneer Reunion is a celebration of the pioneers that brought us into this area in Clay County, just a large family reunion which we're always excited to be a part of," said Pioneer Reunion Board Member Brad Davidson.
All over Henrietta, banners and flags are all indicating the same thing -- everyone is getting ready for what is perhaps the biggest weekend of the year in Clay County.
"You won't believe that a town our size could put on such a production as it is," said Pioneer Association Secretary Patty Scheer.
Every town in the county will be represented in the parades, rodeo, dances, and other events of the weekend. The heritage of Clay County isn't just about the founders and settlers; it also honors today's pioneers -- Clay County natives who are at least 60 years old.
"If ya see 'em, walk up to 'em, shake their hand and tell 'em you sure appreciate 'em," said Clint Lyde, Vice Chairman of the Pioneer Association.
And, new this year, they're honoring the Greatest Generation -- World War II vets like Carl Coleman, who was a POW for 8 months in Germany.
"It don't make me feel any younger," he said.
Coleman will even have his very own float -- one of just 50 or so that will be in the parade on Saturday. This year's float theme is 'Songs of Christmas.'
"Everyone looks forward to the third week in September to come out and see friends and have a good time," Davidson said.
Pioneers do get special treatment, but everyone is welcome to the festivities. Davidson says there will be about 10,000 people swarming the streets of Henrietta on Saturday.
Coleman says clay county is a wonderful place to live.
"I wouldn't exchange it for any other place in the country," he said.
"If you've ever been a part of it, you'll be here every year," Lyde said.
The festivities for Pioneer Reunion kick off with the Cowboy Parade on Thursday at 4:00. A full schedule is provided in the link in this story.