Thursday, February 22, 2024

Gold-medal Paralympian to Lead Scarecrow Parade


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Excitement is building in downtown Meaford in the days leading up to the big event of the year, the Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival, this Friday, October 2.

If you stroll along the downtown streets and look up at the comical scarecrows hanging from the lamp posts, you might think the party has already begun and the best seats taken, but not so, says parade master Gail MacAlpine. The best is yet to come,she said.

MacAlpine and festival chair Heather Handy are busily working out the final details for Fridays events.

This years parade promises many surprises, but guarantees the same variety and silly fun that people have come to love and expect,she said. I am not going to give away all our secrets, but I will say there is a very special guest leading the parade this year, gold-medal Paralympian Jason Crone. Jason will be escorted by Meafords own Parapan Am Games torchbearer, Mary Solomon.

Other entries include a pipe band, marching bands, service groups, sports organizations, the military, government officials, and the famous Scarecrow kazoo band. “It’s never a challenge to find groups to participate in the parade,” MacAlpine said.  “Entrants come to us. We tell them the theme and remind them of our safety guidelines. They say Great. Then we stand back and let their creativity flow.”

They have never failed us.

The parade begins at 6 p.m. sharp from the Collingwood and Sykes Street intersection, proceeds east along Sykes, turns north on Trowbridge, crosses the bridge onto the St. Vincent Street extension and into the harbour parking lot.

I suggest that you come early on Friday, leave your vehicle in the harbour parking lot, walk across the bridge, claim a spot along the parade route,then walk back to the harbour for the festival activities,said MacAlpine.

The Family Festival Committee has organized a fun-packed evening program, with free activities and entertainment for everyone. For the children: top-shot hockey, a puck shoot with the Knights of Meaford hockey team, a bouncer and fish pond, baseball and basketball throws, spin art, and a carnival-style striker. For the young and young-at-heart: Klash the Clown, highland dance Renayla Campbell,  songwriter Allan Johnson, The Brown*s Music, and a pipe band.

The evenings program will be posted in the harbour pavilion,Handy said. Co-hosts Fred Wallace of Bayshore Broadcasting and Linda vanAalst of Rogers TV will kick the evening off. Our special guest, Jason Crone, will be available throughout the evening for autographs. The top three winners in the adult apple pie contest and first-place winner in the youth contest will be introduced and their pies auctioned off by MPP Bill Walker. And the winners of the Business Scarecrow Competition will be announced.

While at the Meaford harbour, visit the farmersmarket and enjoy a variety of food on sale from Meaford service clubs.

For more information, go to www.scarecrowinvasion.caor phone Marilyn Morris at 519-538-4685.

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