Organizers of the popular Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival have announced that the event will not be held in 2023, though they are hopeful to see the event return in the future.
“After 25 successful years, the Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival itself cannot move forward under the current planning committee structure. Countless hours of deliberation led to this unanimous decision. The various event committees profoundly thank the many, many organizers, sponsors and volunteers who gave their financial support, time and heart to see this event ‘soar and scare’ through 25 amazing years,” said organizers in a media release issued this week.
In mid-November organizers warned that the event was in jeopardy due to a lack of members on its executive board.
“We are so grateful to have such a strong core of hard-working volunteers. However, what we don’t have is a leadership base. Unfortunately, for circumstances beyond our control, the executive has dwindled from a full slate of 12 to three members,” Event Chair Donna Earl said in a media release issued in November. “We find ourselves in an awkward position going forward. We are facing the type of logistical decisions that three people alone can’t, nor should, be making on behalf of so many. In particular, we are searching for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, to support and grow our volunteer base, and to improve our fiscal plan and our communication strategy.”
The first Meaford Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival was held in 1996 when a local business man, George Potopnyk, wanted to boost tourist shopping in the downtown area. The following year local residents got involved and a parade was added featuring children dressed as scarecrows. By the next year scarecrows were popping up everywhere once Labour Day was over and the Invasion had become a popular attraction to people beyond the community. In 2000 Marilyn Morris took over as the ‘Head Scarecrow’, one bushel of apples was given away along the parade route, and four volunteers put 25 scarecrows up around downtown. In recent years, there have been hundreds of volunteers who meet and work from January onward planning the event and activities, stuffing and dressing scarecrows, and decorating the town.
Organizers noted the success of the event in previous years.
“The Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival marked a wonderful time of the year in Meaford, and, as a former Top 100 Festivals and Events Ontario designation, the Tourism and local spirit created was welcomed ‘with opened straw arms’. It made for a great celebration to kick off a great time to be in Meaford, with the Apple Harvest Craft Show rounding out a beautiful Autumn weekend in South Georgian Bay,” noted organizers.
Though the Scarecrow Invasion will not be held this year, organizers are hopeful that the event can return should a full slate of executive board members be found to manage the event.
Those interested in helping to ensure the return of the event in future years are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.