Clouds on the horizon?

26 Aug

While the Glengarry Pioneer Museum and the Glengarry Wood Fair Committee don’t rake in tons of cash from the Wood Auction — I believe they only charge an administrative fee of 10%, with the rest going to the lot’s owner — the rows and rows of bargains do attract crowds of wood enthusiasts. “It’s sort of like the loss leaders that retailers use to build traffic in their stores,” Museum chair, Marlie Tilker, told me when were discussing the results from this year’s Fair.

In recent years, volunteers staffing the entrances to the Museum’s special events have been using “clickers” to record attendance. And Marlie reported that last Saturday’s celebration of all things wood generated an impressive 944 clicks. This, in turn, translated into gross admission receipts of $7,945 or an average of $8.42. Why such an uneven number? Because it reflects a mix of ticket price options: non-members paid the standard “event” rate of $10, while members enjoyed the special discount rate of $5 (just one of the many benefits of being a member of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum).

While ticket sales of almost $8,000 is great news, the story gets even better when you add in the support pledged by the Scotiabank branch in Maxville. At this point, I’m not privy to their actual contribution. However, I understand that Scotiabank’s amazing community sponsorship program can provide a matching funds grant of up to $5,000. To qualify for the program, branch employees have to volunteer their time at the sponsored event. So both the institution and the local staff members who pitched in deserve a huge thank you.

Although last weekend’s Fair was blessed with perfect weather, I’m sad to report that there may be storm clouds of the horizon. My chat with Marlie also uncovered the fact that last week’s headline “Going… going… GONE!” might prove more prophetic than I had anticipated. There is a very real chance that this year’s edition of the Glengarry Wood Fair and Auction was the last.

Rumour has it that the event’s key organizer, Dorothy Hamilton from the SD&G Certified Forest Owners group, will be ‘retiring’ from the Wood Fair Committee. And if nobody steps forward to take her place, the fate of this popular annual gathering could be in jeopardy.

I’ll try to keep you posted.

Cupboard was bare

One of the stakeholders that will be watching developments on the Wood Fair front will be the Dunvegan Recreation Association. For a number of years, the DRA has been serving Beef-on-a-Bun, Octoberfest sausages and yummy desserts to hungry Wood Fair goers. In fact, the event has come to represent a significant fundraiser for the local recreation group. And this year was no exception.

Demand at the DRA’s barbeque tent and dessert booth was so brisk that the volunteers ran out of beef and sausages by the end of the afternoon. “We sold every scrap of food, except for three Nanaimo bars,” DRA organizer, Kim Raymond told me.

Kim also asked me to acknowledge the contributions made by the following volunteers: Sean and Lynda Burgess, Ben Williams, Vivian Franklin, Mona André, Tyler and Sara Hay (a brother and sister team), Marcus Suter, Marianna Odermatt, Patrick Senn, Donnie, Caleb and Sarah Jane Raymond, Scott McDougall, James and Sandra MacPherson, Robert Campbell, Laurie Maus, Bob Garner and Linda Evans.

Long-serving grill master, Bob Linney, was given this year off. He’s still recuperating from his heart surgery. But DRA President, Ben Williams, made sure Bob knew this was only temporary. “Next year, he’ll be expected to pull double duty on the BBQ,” Ben informed him.

An autumnal appeal

There are two sure signs that autumn is fast approaching Dunvegan. The first is a pair of sugar maples on County Road 24 near Kenny and Annettte MacLeod’s farm. I may be imagining it, but they seem to be the first in the region to don their fall colours… sometimes at the beginning of August. The second is the annual appeal for donations to be sold at the Museum’s Harvest Fall Festival.

The Museum’s FallFest is early this year… Sunday, September 13th. This is because organizers didn’t want the hugely popular event to conflict in any way with the International Plowing Match in Finch from September 22nd to 26th.

That’s why the Museum’s Harvest Tent co-ordinator, Barb Newman has asked me to help spread the word. She is once again counting on the generosity of gardeners, bakers and cooks from across the counties to donate vegetables, fruits, pies and cakes, breads and rolls, jellies, jams, pickles, preserves and flowers.

As in years past, all this bounty will go on sale under the big top on Harvest Festival day to raise money for the Museum. Ever since the festival’s inception, these harvest tables have been a huge draw for people from far and wide looking to enjoy a bit of Glengarry and take home some homemade goodies.

If you have any questions or would like to donate items from your garden or kitchen, give Barb Newman a call at 613-527-1944.

PS: She’ll even make arrangements to pick up your donations.

Casting call for Scarecrows

Never content to rest on their laurels, organizers of the Museum’s Fall Festival are introducing a brand new contest. Aimed at children 12 years of age and under, the contest offers a prize for the best homemade scarecrow.

Entries must be a maximum of 18 inches tall… and be built on a central stick. This is so the competing scarecrows can be stuck in the Museum’s garden for judging purposes. It’s also hoped that contestants will allow the Museum to display the “straw men” for few weeks.

I’m not yet sure what the prize or prizes will be, but I do know that the judging will take place around 2:00 PM.

Shopping at Frenchy’s

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my fascination with a down-east shopping phenomenon called Frenchy’s. And lo and behold, one of my readers, Brigitte Loos, e-mailed me out of the blue with her recollections of this Maritimes institution. “We have dear friends in Cumberland Bay, New Brunswick and they took us on a Frenchy’s trip,” wrote Brigitte. “What a fun afternoon that was!”

Brigitte also asked me if I was aware that Hughie Mcdonell from Martintown wrote a song about this quaint chain of stores. I must admit that I wasn’t, so I turned on my trusty Internet and found Hughie on YouTube proudly performing a little ditty entitled Shopping at Frenchy’s. The man obviously has talent and the song is a hoot. If you’d like to check it out, just Google his name and the song’s title… on click on the link below. Thank you, Brigitte!

“Shopping at Frenchy’s”