A storm system that rolled through the Meaford area on Friday September 29 brought with it heavy rainfall and strong winds which forced the cancellation of the annual Scarecrow & Family Festival for the first time in its 21 year history.
The storm system caused downed power lines and tree limbs, and the high winds and large waves along the waterfront caused rocks, boulders, and other debris to be scattered along Bayfield Street. Shortly after 4:00 p.m on Friday, organizers of the event, which was set to begin at 6:00 p.m., announced the cancellation on social media.
“By 4 p.m., the OPP, municipal firefighters and public works crews had been called out to emergency situations,” said Head Scarecrow Marilyn Morris. “Our tents at the harbour pavilion were getting blown apart.”
Volunteers scrambled to batten down the hatches as the storm worsened.
“Kinsmen Club of Meaford President Dan White was one of several volunteers on site at the Rotary Harbour Pavilion who pitched in to dismantle the tents, banners, and displays on Friday in the rain and strong winds that blasted the harbour. By morning on Saturday, September 30th, he had rallied fellow Kinsmen and local service clubs to sell hamburgers at Grandma Lambe’s on Hwy 26 as a fundraiser to help offset the scarecrow invasion’s expenses and loss in revenue from the cancelled festival,” said organizers.
By 5:00 p.m., power had been lost throughout the municipality. Most homes and businesses saw the return of their electricity before midnight, though some were without power into Saturday.
Morris was disappointed with the need to cancel the event, but she tried to look on the bright side.
“Scarecrows are a hearty bunch,” Morris said. “I want the public to know that the scarecrows weathered the storm and they will remain on display in the downtown area, at Station Hill, and at the entrances to town and participating businesses now till after the Thanksgiving weekend.”
While the parade and the festival at the harbour were cancelled, the nasty weather couldn't stop the taste testers for the annual apple pie baking contest. This year's contest featured a record number of young bakers, with 20 children aged 8 to 12 submitting home baked apple pies for consideration by the judges.
Results of Apple Pie Contest
Traditional Pie Winners (Adult)
1st Place- Gail Murray
2nd Place-Stephanie Davis
3rd Place-Meaford Long Term Care Residents
Young Bakers(Ages 8 to 12)
1st Place-Lindy Kingston
2nd Place-Kiawna Wheeler
3rd Place- Drew Acres
Honourable Mention- Heida Murray
Best Decorated- Kiawna Wheeler
Organizers also announced the winners of the business decorating competition:
Scarecrow Business Competiton 2017 Results
Indoor Display Winner
Vail’s Orchard West (Large Pumpkin decorated inside)
Outdoor Display Winner
Reg Noble Used Cars
Wiindow Display Winner
Simply Unique Flowers
Deans Carpet One Floor & Home
Best Of The Best – Winner “PATCHES”
Also announced were the winners of the photography contest:
Grand Prize Winner: Laura Sparling
Big Red Chair: Bob Buckton
Scarecrow: Trefor Randall
Local History: Cheryl Ann Smith
Scenery: Heather Barker
Pets and Wildlife: Drew Fiegehen