When the rain and wind started early last Friday afternoon my first thought was 'here we go again, it's going to be another chilly and damp Scarecrow Invasion'. While I wasn't looking forward to standing out in the cold and rain to take photos of the parade as I'd done several times before, it wouldn't be the Scarecrow Invasion if the elements didn't come into play in some way, so I was prepared for what was to come – then the walnuts from the tree next door started banging off my kitchen windows.
When the wind picked up, the trees outside my windows swayed and bent, leaves and branches were flying through the air, and the green balls containing walnuts were thumping against the roof, the walls, and the windows. I couldn't imagine the Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival being able to proceed, but there was still time, it was only about 3:30, the parade didn't start until 6, and the Weather Network website seemed to indicate that the worst of it would be over by 5. But conditions continued to worsen, the winds grew stronger, and the rain continued to fall, and around 4 I received word from the organizers that the Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival that the event would be cancelled. I was in part relieved, but also saddened. I proceeded to light a half dozen candles and I boiled some water to make a pot of coffee, and then the power went out – clearly the Scarecrow Invasion organizers made the right call.
I had considered venturing out for a little drive to take some photos. I decided however it would be best to stay home and watch through my windows – I'm not really a fan of becoming a statistic, and with the strength of those winds I envisioned a tree branch smashing through my car window as I was about to take an epic photo, and it just didn't seem worth it.
Power was restored shortly after 11 p.m., and the following morning I ventured out to have a look at the aftermath of the storm. The parking lot where I live was covered in leaves, branches, and seemingly hundreds of those walnuts. Along the waterfront some trees were down, and numerous large rocks and small boulders had been pushed onto and across Bayfield Street as the huge waves had crashed onto the road. I saw some impressive photos on social media of the waves several feet above the breakwalls at the harbour, and of the minor and brief flooding in the Bayfield and Parker Street area.
Fortunately, that was about the extent of the damage that I could see, but it was enough to make make me thankful that it was just a strong windstorm that had been accompanied by some rain. Images of the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and throughout the Caribbean filled my head and reminded me that when it comes to weather events, we really do get off pretty lucky in our corner of the world. We might have been without electricity for six hours (longer for a few folks), we might have seen some trees come down, and we had some cleanup to do in the aftermath, but we don't know the true power that wind and water can carry, and I am glad of that.
Nobody wants to cancel any event, particularly one that takes place just once each year, and one that involved hundreds of volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year in preparation for the big event, but you can't beat Mother Nature, and sometimes she has other plans.
To all the volunteers who make the annual Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival possible, all your hard work was not wasted. Throughout the month of September, the scarecrow displays throughout town have brought smiles to many faces, and the businesses and residents have had fun creating their own displays, so thank you to the organizers of one of the largest and most anticipated community events each year in this town. We might not have had the parade downtown and the festival at the harbour this year, but the scarecrow spirit held strong before and after – we'll see you again next year, and hopefully Mother Nature will have something better to do.