StephenVance 270The first hints of colour have begun to show themselves; a patchwork of red, yellow, orange, and green is currently in the works, the nights have become chilly, and autumn thunderstorms have begun to entertain us – Meaford's Big Fall Weekend is upon us.

If you've been in the urban area of Meaford in the past few weeks you have no doubt noticed the numerous scarecrow displays married with cornstalk decorations embellishing the lamp posts, signalling that the town is ready for this year's Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival, which is set to kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 4 with the traditional Scarecrow Parade.

As is customary, the hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of onlookers will follow the parade to the Rotary Harbour Pavilion where the family festival will kick into high gear.

But you don't need to be in Meaford's downtown core to enjoy the scarecrows this year. On Sunday morning I took a drive out to Bognor to take in the scarecrow displays they have created for the first time this year. 'Downtown Bognor' as former MPP Bill Murdoch lovingly calls it has been spruced up for fall with scarecrow displays matching this year's book theme. I always love taking a drive out to Bognor, but on Sunday it was a particularly enjoyable excursion thanks to all those scarecrows to stop and view.

If you are planning on participating in the popular pie baking contest, freshly baked apple pies need to be dropped off for judging at the Church of Nazarene between 1 and 3 pm on Friday. There are two categories: young bakers (ages 8-11) and traditional. The contest is open to all residents of the Municipality of Meaford.

While the Scarecrow Invasion, with its obvious presence in the community thanks to more than 250 scarecrows on display, might be the traditional headline grabber of the Big Fall Weekend, once the festival is over, the remainder of the weekend belongs to the annual Apple Harvest Craft Show, which will be held once again in the arena and the curling club on Saturday and Sunday.

The huge craft show is another annual event that has grown in size and popularity over its more than 35-year history. From its humble beginnings in 1983, the Apple Harvest Craft Show has grown to be one of the largest in southern Ontario, and it attracts roughly 200 artisans who feature a wide range of arts and crafts items, with a little something for everyone. The event has become a popular early holiday shopping destination for many in search of unique gifts for special people on their lists.

The big event begins at 10 a.m on Saturday morning, and the doors will be open until 6 p.m. On the second day of the craft show, Sunday, the doors will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

While there has been a delay in the rehabilitation of the Sykes Street bridge, the municipality has said that both lanes of the bridge will be open this weekend in order to accommodate the massive influx of traffic that these two events will bring into the downtown core – but bring your patience, as the Big Fall Weekend brings with it traffic congestion and an influx of locals and tourists taking part in the weekend's events.

If big events aren't your scene, don't forget that the Net Shed is still open, and with the cooler weather approaching, now is a good time to stock up on books for the winter. What better way to do so than to support the Friends of the Meaford Library?

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, enjoy the transition from summer to autumn, and enjoy the weekend, as Meaford says goodbye to summer and welcomes autumn to the neighbourhood!

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