Events 2018

7th Annual Pioneer Day Festival Celebrates Merritt Island History on February 10th

 Merritt Island, FL–Celebrating the early settlers of Merritt Island on “Pioneer Day” at two of their historic sites will take guests back in history through art, music, food, presentations, archaeology, and nature.  A festival is planned for Saturday, February 10th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at both the Sams House/Pine Island Conservation Area and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church located on a Spanish moss-lined stretch of North Tropical Trail just north of the Barge Canal on North Merritt Island.  

This family friendly day includes activities from past festivals as well as new attractions. Parking is available at both locations for a suggested donation of $1 with free shuttle service between the two venues.

Events at Sams House (10 am to 4 pm):

  • Florida living history demonstrations and educational exhibits include archaeology and anthropology, historic re-enactors, encampments and artifacts on display, and spinning wool demonstrations.
  • New this year: Presentation by Archaeologist Julia Duggins of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research on prehistoric canoes, with displays on dugout canoes used by Brevard’s pioneer families (Sams and Dummitt), as well as the latest information on the canoe found on the shore of the Indian River after Hurricane Irma
  • Live music by the Celery City String Band, Chris Kahl and others
  • Local exhibitors from the Florida Historical Society, North Brevard Historical Association, Field Manor, and many others
  • Crafts Fair and Farmer’s Market vendors such as Pappas Backyard Honey, Mrs. Mango’s, Spade and Trowel Garden Club, and others
  • Guided Pine Island nature trail hikes throughout the day
  • 1875 Sams Cabin pioneer history exhibits and gift shop
  • Tours of vintage clothing and antiques on display in the 1888 Sams House
  • Children’s crafts and games such as cow milking, rope tossing, corn husk dolls, and more
  • Pine Island Preservation Society tent with vintage pins, doilies, pioneer bonnets, hiking sticks, nature-themed t-shirts, note cards, postcards and gifts for sale
  • Food trucks, BBQ and kettle corn

 About Sams House at Pine Island:

The Sams House at Pine Island is a historical complex owned and operated by the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. The 1875 Sams Cabin onsite is the oldest standing home in Brevard County.  A larger 1888 two-story home is also onsite.  John Sams, a citrus-grower and the first Superintendent of Brevard County Schools, built both houses.  The Center is located at 6195 N. Tropical Trail, ½ mile west of SR 3 and 5 miles north of SR 528.  For information call, 321-449-4720.

Events at St. Luke’s (10 am to 4 pm):

This year’s theme is The Early Years.  Visitors can learn about the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and Dennis Sawyer, who started Merritt Junior High and began the Mount Olive Church.  Also available are three guided cemetery tours each with a unique theme. In addition to the tours will be a “Cemetery Stroll”, where volunteers dressed in period attire talk about life in their day.

10:15   St. Luke’s Cemetery Tour – “An Archeologist Perspective”Molly Thomas

11:00   “The Discovery of Cape Canaveral and What Happened Afterwards”Dr. Sonny Witt

11:30   St. Luke’s Cemetery Tour  – “Founding Families”

12:00   Homemade soups ($5)

12:15 Pioneer Hymns

12:30 – 2:00 Cemetery Stroll 

2:00     “In Celebration of Black History Month: The Legacy of Dennis Sawyer” – Roz Foster

2:30     St. Luke’s Cemetery Tour  – “Thru the Ages

Fish Fry Dinner at 4:30 and 5:30 seatings (ticket sale starts Jan. 7 by calling 321-452-5260. $9 advance * / $10 day of)

* Advanced tickets must be purchased by and paid for by February 3

 About St. Luke’s Episcopal Church:

The historic chapel onsite was built in 1888 with the help of Sams, LaRoche, and Porcher families.  Many early pioneers, including John Sams, are buried in the church’s cemetery.  The Church is located at 5555 N. Tropical Trail, just 1.1 miles south of Sams House at Pine Island.  For information call 321-452-5260 or visit our website at