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Scarecrow Family Festival and Parade

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Event Name: Scarecrow Family Festival and Parade
Event Date(s): September 28, 2018
Location: Meaford
EVENT_TIMES: See Website
Website: Click here to visit
Description: The Meaford Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival began in 1996 with the guidance of local business man George Potopnyk to encourage tourists to shop in the downtown area (B.I.A). The second year a local resident became involved and worked with George to put a little parade together that featured children dressed up as scarecrows.

Scarecrow fever ensued. Scarecrows began popping up everywhere right after Labour Day the following year. In three short years (by 1999) the Scarecrow Invasion had become a popular local event in Meaford, attracting friends and family from outside the community as well.

The BIA (Business Improvement Area) decided that the event had outgrown its original purpose of attracting people to the downtown area. A group of volunteers from the community became the organizing team. The committee decided to focus the event on children and families. In 2000, Marilyn Morris took over as “Head Scarecrow,” dressed in her best scarecrow finery. The hat and costume became her trademark.

In 2002, a scarecrow team member suggested the Scarecrow Invasion go for the Guinness Book of World Records. A town in Portugal held the record of 1,043 scarecrows. Meaford created 2,221 scarecrows, but was beaten out by a small town near Ottawa. Coverage of the event was extensive. Radio Europe, the BBC, Fairchild TV out of Hong Kong, and national media such as CTV and CBC, as well as Harrowsmith Country Life magazine all contacted Meaford.

The Scarecrow Invasion was more than a world record attempt. It turned into an event fostering community spirit and attracting tourists to visit the entire municipality and county. Starting in January a volunteer executive worked diligently to make the event even more spectacular. Each year the committee sits down to discuss what works and what doesn’t. They try to add new activities each year that will keep the community involved and interested. As needed, an army of 255 volunteers accept roles as plans are solidified. We are now moving in to the 15th annual Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival.