There's a surprising lot of interesting stuff going on around here, and this space is devoted to discovering and sharing it. We'll post regular updates on merchants, activities and events. Look in often and soon you'll see why Meaford calls itself "The other Big Apple".

posted September 28th, 2012
Craft show, canning demos, and live music round out the weekend

Meaford’s Scarecrow Parade is just the beginning of a busy weekend in Meaford. The weekend traditionally anchored by the Apple Harvest Craft Show – a show of carefully selected artisans and craftspeople from near and far offering everything from toys to tinware to needlework to folk art to stained glass and much more – has grown busier every year, as events and exhibits appear to tempt tourists and locals alike.

This year, the Meaford Museum is open with free admission all weekend – and on Saturday, you can can. That is, you can learn to can. Well, let’s see how the museum puts it. “Learn the steps to effective and safe canning with Isobel McInnis as she does on-site demonstrations at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3pm. Printed material will be available and you are invited to ask Isobel any questions you may have. Each demonstration will take approximately 30 minutes.”

Meanwhile, the Heatlamp at the Harbour Music Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday with a vendors market opening, followed by a music show for the kids, a Tex-Mex food bar featuring chili, pulled pork, nachos and a selection of hot sauces, and a series of three performances offering gutsy blues, folk, and more through the afternoon.

That’s a taste of this weekend’s events. To learn more, just head to Meaford.

posted September 28th, 2012
Enjoy the Meaford Scarecrow Parade and Family Fun Festival today!

They began to arrive early in September, scarecrow scouts appearing one by one to stand silent on lawns through town. By the middle of the month, they’d taken over. Everywhere you looked, straw-filled sentries – this year’s army seems to have escaped from frightening, fantastic, and farcical fairy tales – greeted you with sewn-on smiles, pasted-on pouts, or glued-on glares.

For the 16th time in as many years, Meaford’s Scarecrow Invasion was complete. Well, not quite. To celebrate its domination of Meaford, an army of scarecrows will amble down the main street of town this evening.

To see the burlap battalions in fine fettle and join in the fun, head down to Sykes Street later today. Starting at 5 p.m., enjoy the pre-parade Tartan Fling, with performances by the Celtic Dance Company of Owen Sound. At 6, prepare yourself for the parade itself, as it descends on downtown. Then, follow the tattered troops to Meaford Harbour for the Scotiabank Family Fun Festival. It’s free, and there’s a little something for everyone, including an apple pie contest, vintage vehicles on display, goats and other animals seemingly wandered in from local farms, and a performance by the Grey County Highlanders Pipes and Drums Band. Meaford’s Farmers’ Market will also be open for business.

To prepare you for what’s to come, enjoy the following videos of Meaford’s Scarecrow Parade.

posted September 21st, 2012
Beautiful Joe’s Autumn Adventure great family fun

Meaford, snug at the mouth of the Bighead River on Georgian Bay, lies in a valley surrounded by rolling hills and the heights of the Niagara Escarpment. You don’t need to go very far to find yourself forests, fields and wooded trails. A two-minute stroll from downtown has you at the trailhead of the Trout Hollow Trail, and another couple of minutes down the trail, you’d think you’re far from town. But you don’t even need to go that far to find a beautiful greenspace. Before taking the trail, turn around and cross the street to the entrance of Beautiful Joe Park.

This emerald jewel cradled on one side by the sweep of the river, nestled in a hollow below the streets of town, is named for the Meaford mutt made famous in the worldwide bestseller that bears his name. Sixty-nine years after Beautiful Joe, by Margaret Marshall Saunders, was published, in 1894, Meaford Mayor Frank Garvey and his wife, Judy, were walking the woods across the Bighead from their Cook Street home, and they came across an old marker near the banks of the river and below the home where the real Joe had been nursed back to health and a long life by the Moore family. They’d found Beautiful Joe’s grave.

Beautiful Joe - The Meaford Edition

Beautiful Joe – The Meaford Edition

The couple worked hard to establish Beautiful Joe Park on the wooded site, and today, the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society (BJHS) continues the work.

Tomorrow, the BJHS welcomes visitors to the sixth annual Beautiful Joe’s Autumn Adventure. It’s an opportunity for people to learn more about the famous book, its author, the park, heroic canines, and more.

The family event features an interactive science tent, a fairy tale scavenger hunt with prizes for all, horse-drawn wagon rides by Ritchie’s Clydesdales, pet portraits by Wendy Webb Photography, and a number of vendors selling pet treats, toys and accessories; gifts and other items; and food for all. There’ll also be a plaque dedication ceremony and a “Blessing of the Animals” by Padre Major Michael Allen.

Padre Major Michael Allen blesses the animals at Beautiful Joe's Autumn Adventure

Padre Major Michael Allen blesses the animals at Beautiful Joe’s Autumn Adventure

Ritchie’s Clydesdales take you on an old fashioned wagon ride at Beautiful Joe's Autumn Adventure

Ritchie’s Clydesdales take you on an old fashioned wagon ride at Beautiful Joe’s Autumn Adventure

Admission’s by donation to the society; just head down to the park tomorrow between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

posted September 15th, 2012
Literary events to benefit Meaford Public Library

Readers and writers in Meaford can look forward to some literary events over the next month.

Writers have until October 13 to get their entries in to the Third Annual Short Story Contest held by Friends of the Meaford Library. The contest is open to Grey County residents 16 and over, and judges will consider original, unpublished works of up to 2,500 words in their quest for the best.

Cash prizes totalling $800 are on offer, along with bonus prizes, including a $100 gift certificate from Georgian College. And the winning entries will be published in The Meaford Independent.

There’s a registration fee of $20, which goes directly to Meaford Public Library resources and programs. The Friends of the Meaford Library are considering purchasing early literacy stations for the children’s department.

Then, veteran broadcast journalist and Giller-winning author, Linden MacIntyre, will take the stage at Meaford Hall on October 2 as special guest for the library’s annual fundraiser. MacIntyre is well-known as a host of CBC’s The Fifth Estate, and his 2009 novel, The Bishop’s Man (the second in his Cape Breton trilogy) won the Scotiabank Giller Prize that year. His most recent work is Why Men Lie, which takes place two years after the events in the previous novel and completes the trilogy with a poignant portrait of the relationship between a middle-aged professor and an old friend who rekindles her affection.

Host Christopher Thomas will talk to MacIntyre about his writing and his career as an author and a journalist.

Tickets are $23.50, available at Meaford Hall, and the library is selling a limited number of VIP tickets which include front row seats and an autographed copy of Why Men Lie for $50. These VIP tickets are only available at the Library.

posted September 14th, 2012
John K. Samson shares his love of Canadian sports at Irish Mountain Music house concert

On Wednesday night, some 50 or so guests of Irish Mountain Music enjoyed a witty and often poignant performance by John K. Samson, front-man of Winnipeg’s The Weakerthans, and his guest, Michael Feuerstack (who often performs as Snailhouse).

John K Samson and Michael Feuerstack at Irish Mountain

Weakerthans frontman John K Samson (r) and Michael Feuerstack perform at Irish Mountain Music in Meaford.

A real affection for Canada’s national sports was clear, with a tale of a late night at the curling club (“Tournament of Hearts”), the “Elegy for Gump Worsley”, and a plea for help getting Reggie Leach (the “Riverton Rifle”) into the Hockey Hall of Fame (“Petition”).

To sign, go here.

posted September 7th, 2012
A virtual fall tour of Meaford

If you’ve had enough of this long hot summer, and are getting in the mood for a Meaford autumn, we discovered a nice video by “drofluf” down at the bottom of this post (with some stills from it gracing our page).

Meaford autumn country road

Meaford autumn country road (by drofluf)

(If you didn’t spend the summer here, you might be surprised at how perfect it was. While the south sweltered in smog and humidity for much of the season, Georgian Bay worked its magic, moderating temperatures here so that few days left us panting in heavy heat. The lack of rain was another story for farmers….)

A Meaford farm in autumn

A Meaford farm in autumn (by drofluf)

We came across this video by the mysterious drofluf (who is also apparently an avid cyclist), which showcases some of last year’s fall splendour. He (that’s an assumption we’re making) was testing out a new long lens for his video camera, so there’s a lot of nice pulled focus and selective focus shots (check out the Canada geese!).

Rolling hills in Meaford autumn

Rolling hills in Meaford autumn (by drofluf)

The blue Blue Mountains

The blue Blue Mountains (by drofluf)

And note the shot of a jet overhead. The crickets drown out its distant noise. Something else you notice when you live in quiet Meaford: while you’ll sometimes see distant planes and contrails, you rarely actually hear the airliners – they’re too far away.