Morden, Manitoba // August 22-24
Big Names // George Canyon
Local talent // The Fugitives, The Bros. Landreth
Cost // Free
Regular street parking rules apply.
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If you’ve ever waxed nostalgic for a taste of small(er) town life, for midways on main street, petting zoos, farm-fresh eats, and the smiling faces of a community coming together in celebration, then the Morden Corn and Apple festival deserves a big red circle on your summer calendar.
Over the last 47 years, this festival has held true to its original goal of offering a fun – and completely free – multi-day event that’s grown to fill over seven blocks of Stephen Street and highlights both local and internationally renowned talent. Country fans take note – Morden is bringing in George Canyon to headline the festival on Friday night, and local boys done good the Bros. Landreth will be warming up the stage. Saturday night is moving in a more classic rock direction, featuring CCR tribute band Frankie and the Good Boys.
But back to business: the corn. “Morden corn is famous,” notes festival administrator Cheryl Link. “It’s sweet, and it’s firm, and it’s just amazing.” Throughout the afternoons, this hot buttered corn is distributed to festival attendees absolutely free.
Last year, they handed out 39,000 cobs (that’s 3000 cobs of corn eaten per hour) and estimate that they’ll repeat the feat again this August. Cold apple cider is given away with the corn, though due to a lack of commercial orchards in Manitoba, the cider is brought in from our neighbours in Wellesley, Ontario.
In 2012, Morden grew to earn the title of city as their population passed the 7,500 mark, and for Link, it’s the people of Morden that really make this festival shine. “I get to work with some of the most amazing volunteers in the world,” she says.
Throughout the three-day festival, over 1,000 of these volunteers dedicate their time and energy to creating a memorable experience for fellow residents and visitors alike.
From her office on Stephen Street, in the thick of the joyful fray, Link has an ideal perch to people-watch. “It’s just amazing watching the people, and just seeing the delight in their faces, you know, when they first bite into that corn on the cob, or the kids in the petting zoo or on the midway rides [..] Everybody just does an amazing job, everybody’s just so happy.”
The festival kicks off daily with an early morning pancake breakfast, and rolls through a dizzying array of activities including outdoor bingo, buskers, a tractor pull, art walks, and historical tours, until the final headliners hit the stage at 9pm.
Part of the series: 2014 Summer Festival Guide
Published in Volume 68, Number 29 of The Uniter (August 5, 2014)