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Concrete leaders to be honored at 2024 Pioneer Picnic

The Skagit County Pioneer Association has cemented the lineup of honorees for its annual summer picnic in La Conner, one weighed heavily with civic leaders based in Concrete.

Concrete Herald editor-­publisher Jason Miller, Valerie Stafford of the Concrete Theatre, John Boggs of the Concrete Heritage Museum, and longtime Concrete Food Bank coordinators Marty and Adrienne Smith are this year’s recipients of the Pioneer Spirit Award. All will be formally recognized at the annual Pioneer Picnic here on Aug. 1.

Their selections were confirmed during the Pioneer Association board meeting April 5 at the Skagit County Historical Museum in La Conner.

The Concrete honorees were tabbed in recognition of the many contributions made to the county by those residing in the Upper Skagit Valley.

They will share honors with the Wesen family, which has operated a dairy in the Burlington area for more than a century and has been chosen the Pioneer Family of the Year.

The Pioneer Picnic, held each year on the first Thursday of August at Pioneer Park, is a revered summer tradition in La Conner. This year marks the 120th such gathering.

In addition to honoring the Family of the Year and Spirit Award recipients, the business meeting segment of the picnic recognizes the oldest persons in attendance and the one who has traveled the farthest to attend.

Proceeds from the picnic, which features a barbecued salmon luncheon served by members of the La Conner Civic Garden Club, benefit the historical museum, whose current exhibit highlights Skagit County sign maker Bob Mortenson and was recently featured in the Weekly News.

“It’s a wonderful celebration of Bob and his art,” Ann Maroney of the historical museum told pioneer association board members at their Friday meeting.

The board, during the hourlong session, also honored the memory of the late Joyce Johnson, a revered Civic Garden Club member and poet who recently died at the age of 105.

“Joyce was really amazing,” board member Virginia Good-Vlahovich said of Johnson. “She was an author into her 90s.”

“Joyce was a fixture at the Pioneer Picnic,” pioneer association president Loren Dahl said.

Johnson, he and board members recalled, received a loud ovation upon her introduction as the oldest attendee at the 2023 Pioneer Picnic.


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