Article by Helen Solmes
The committee and volunteers for the 2015 Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival were minutes away from finishing the 2015 line-up of scarecrows on August 19th when they took time out to recognize their sponsors who help make the annual event a huge success each year.
The annual tradition of decorating Meaford with scarecrows began 19 years ago when businessman George Potopnyk encouraged downtown merchants to decorate storefronts with a scarecrow during the town’s Apple Harvest Craft Show. He started with a budget of $5, according to Head Scarecrow Marilyn Morris. “The scarecrows were a hit. Within two years, the town had gone scarecrow crazy,” she said.
The business community soon recognized that the scarecrows were a great promotional idea for the town. The Meaford Business Improvement Area (BIA) Management Committee supported the Potopnyk’s scarecrow idea from the start and, in 1998, became an official sponsor, followed by the Meaford Chamber of Commerce in 1999, and the town council in 2000. “Over the years, both the number of scarecrows and the support from our sponsors has grown in ways George Potopnyk would never have imagined,” Morris said. “The organizing committee has developed valuable partnerships with businesses, service groups, media, and the Community Foundation Grey Bruce whose financial support, donations-in-kind, media coverage, and grants have helped to grow the event in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.”
The Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival valued sponsors are Scotiabank, RBA Financial Group, Invesco, Meaford Express, Meaford Independent, Rogers TV, My Favorite Marketer, BIA Management Committee, Municipality of Meaford, Almond’s Farm Market, Grandma Lambe’s, Meaford Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Meaford, The Co-operators/Jeff Elford Insurance & Financial Services, and Bayshore Broadcasting.
With their support, the Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival has been recognized two years running as one of Ontario’s top 100 events.
Photograph: The Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival valued sponsors were recognized for their support during the Sponsors’ Appreciation Day on August 19th. l-r, back row: Chris Fell (Meaford Express) and Stephen Vance (Meaford Independent). Front row: Dan White (Meaford Chamber of Commerce), Harley Greenfield (Municipality of Meaford), Dave Vaughan (Rotary Club of Meaford ), Marilyn Morris (Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival), Ross Kentner (Bayshore Broadcasting), Richard Morris (BIA Management Committee), Aly Boltman (Community Foundation Grey Bruce).