Joe Thomas, current president of LaBelle Heritage Museum and a three-time past chairman of LaBelle’s Swamp Cabbage Festival, says it is not too early to start thinking about the 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family. LaBelle Heritage Museum will be presenting a list of “Pioneer Families” to the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee at its October meeting for selection as the 2018 LaBelle Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family at the November meeting.
The criteria are the family has to have lived in the “LaBelle Community” for at least 50 years and still have direct descendants generally recognized as being members of the LaBelle Community. This means the family chosen as 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family must have been living in the LaBelle Community by November 1967 at the absolute latest to be eligible for consideration by the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee. There are families whose LaBelle “roots” go back before the creation of Hendry County in 1923 who have not been honored let alone even been nominated as Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family, and LaBelle Heritage Museum will be presenting some of them for consideration along with relative “newcomers” to the ranks of Pioneer Families who have just become eligible for consideration.
Thomas adds, “In all fairness, if an area family has already been honored as Pioneer Family through great great grandparents or other direct ancestors living in our area, they should not be selected again through a more recent family member let alone even be nominated.” The 50 year minimum residency is a concrete requirement; what constitutes being a member of the LaBelle Area Community is a judgment call to be decided on an individual basis when all of the “facts” are presented.
Letters of nomination should be presented to LaBelle Heritage Museum either by dropping them off at the museum itself at 360 North Bridge Street, mailing them to LaBelle Heritage Museum, P O Box 2846, LaBelle, FL 33975, or e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than , to give time to verify information before presenting the nominations to the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee at its October meeting.