Harvest Glory Days decorating

Most displays ever celebrate autumn on Manitoulin and new community receives 2020 HGD honours

MANITOULIN ISLAND – What a banner year for fall harvest themed decorating this has proven to be: in virtually every community, more pumpkins, scarecrows, cornstalks, gourds of every colour, shape and size adorn home fronts, businesses, parks and churches; far more than usual this year as the Harvest Glory Days Fall Colour Tour registrations on Pages 18 and 19 of this newspaper indicate.

The addresses you’ll find listed there are the ones that people took the time to forward to The Expositor Office but in driving around, you’ll find that there are far more decorated dwellings than the ones you’ll find listed in this week’s paper.

Call these unregistered exhibits ‘infilling’ among and between the ones for which we are posting addresses: the net result is that a drive up and down the streets of most of our communities means that you’ll be impressed by the time and talent that has gone into making sure our towns reflect the fall harvest theme just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Even if you only check out the efforts in your own home community, it will be well worth a drive around.

If you can go further afield and see what individuals in neighbouring Island communities have done, that will be even better.

The guide of registered decorated spots on Page 19 is a good guide and the communities with the most listings tend to also boast that many more besides that haven’t been officially registered.

But it’s all worthwhile: There are a half-dozen registrations on the Bidwell Road in Assiginack Township. They all happen to be south (the Manitowaning side) of the little Hamlet of Bidwell and while they are relatively few in number, they are all really well done.

And the Bidwell Road, for example, leads you one way south to the town of Manitowaning where citizens have again gone all out and lovingly embraced the Harvest Glory Days theme, and the other way takes you in the general direction of the village of Sheguiandah that is decorated from end to end.

That would be a nice regional tour.

This year’s breakthrough community, the Harvest Glory Days judges have determined, is the town of Mindemoya where clever people have festooned the Highway 542/ King Street corridor with an enormous array of clever characters and while they might not scare away crows, they definitely bring delight to the spectator visiting this central Island community.

The judges have decided to call these effigies scarecrows, benign ones, and they are sitting, standing, turning a cartwheel, getting married, posing as a clergyperson, looking pretty at the intersection of Mindemoya’s two main streets, Highway 542/King Street and Highway 551/ Yonge Street. There is a running gag through many of these installations: the Toronto Maple Leafs. These characters also live in hope.

But wait: there’s more! A drive (or a walk) through the core residential area of Mindemoya shows that many homeowners have also decorated this year, many more than usual.

All of this taken together means that Mindemoya will receive a large Harvest Glory Days sign attesting to its citizens’ community spirit in 2020 … with spaces to add more winning years, in the future.

Mindemoya is a new 2020 winner in this year’s Harvest Glory Days friendly Manitoulin Island Harvest Glory Days competition in the large community category.

But others have continued to impress and will also continue to be recognized.

Perennial decorating winning town Manitowaning has done it again in the large community category with consistent community buy-in all over town so Manitowaning, for the eighth consecutive year, will receive a 2020 “leaf” for their Harvest Glory Days sign.

So will Gore Bay, the town the Harvest Glory Days judging panel recognized last year for the first time as a championship decorated community.

Like Mindemoya, clever scarecrows adorn the front street, mainly in front of businesses and often the characters mimic something about their nearby businesses: there’s a bank robber running away from the Bank of Montreal, there are diners at a table for two near Codmothers Restaurant (and a character is catching a very large fish there to boot).

A second leaf will look good on Gore Bay’s Harvest Glory Days winner’s sign.

In the large town/community category, honourable mention goes this year to Little Current where both the municipality and individual citizens have really stepped up their games to make their town much more Harvest Glory themed.

Several businesses (including two real estate offices) have done outstanding and innovative decorating and the United Church’s maple tree, in full splendor just now, provides a canopy for a huge display of the harvest bounty that Canada and Manitoulin Island are fortunate to be able to produce in abundance.

In the mid-sized town category, the village of Sheguiandah has taken the honours for the third straight year.

There is the usual fun display at the Bass Creek fish viewing platform but throughout the community, on both sides of Highway 6, homeowners have stepped up to a greater than usual extent to show their full colours.

Congratulations, Sheguiandah. There’s another winning leaf coming your way.

Honourable mention in this category goes to Providence Bay in recognition of the great decorating efforts on the Highway 542 corridor through the community and on down towards Providence Bay Park.

In the small community category, Silver Water has pulled it off for the seventh consecutive year with virtually every home along the Highway 540 corridor through town celebrating the season. Silver Water will be receiving yet another leaf to commemorate its citizens’ pride of place.

The fall colours are approaching their peak now, the communities are artfully decorated in variations on nature’s autumn palette and so just now is the time to explore Manitoulin, before we have to concern ourselves with digging out our snow tires!

For an extensive photo gallery of almost all of the Harvest Glory decorating done in each Manitoulin community, please see our gallery online.