Robert Burr has deep roots in South Florida. "Our family was one of the very first pioneer families to settle near Arch Creek. They also settled Little River and in the Goulds area. And the Burr's Berry Farm is kind of a semi-famous place," says Burr. In 1876 the Burr family, including Robert's great-grandfather, made its home in the unspoiled land. "I often wonder what they were thinking. Back then there were no roads even," Burr muses. Looking at the limestone bridge that spans the waters in beautiful Arch Creek Park, one can certainly understand his family's intentions. At today's Pioneer Family Barbecue, Robert Burr will greet people with similar pasts and share anecdotes about their intrepid ancestors. "One good story begets another. It all ends up being clues. You can sometimes fit it together like a jigsaw puzzle. A lot of people are holding pieces of the puzzle, and it's really delightful when some of them fit together," says Burr. These memories will be videotaped and archived for posterity in the Pioneer Museum on site.
One hundred years ago, long before Arch Creek was renamed North Miami, pioneer families gathered at the bridge for special occasions. Local families shared side dishes and desserts while the kids played along the creek's edge. Some of the folks who will come to today's feast are mature enough that their parents were among those to enjoy "Pop" Wiggins's slow-cooked specialties back then. "If he was throwing a party, only a fool would miss it," Robert Burr chuckles. Today will be a reenactment of that history, complete with actors dressed like Tequesta Indians, Seminoles, and soldiers. Expect a visit from Ponce de Leon and Henry Flagler, among others. Award-winning barbecue chef Mark Rogers of Smoke and Spice will provide the grilled meat. Long-time Florida residents will turn out in numbers to this celebration, but anyone who loves local history and grilled fare is welcome.