Beautiful weather and a chance to get outside made for a perfect day the annual Harvest Festival made a successful return to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum in Dunvegan on Sunday, September 12.

A total of 450 visitors came through the gates. Including the 88 volunteers who manned the demonstrations and vending booths, more than 500 people were on hand for the event. Organizers, who were just hoping to get to about 400 visitors on the day, were thrilled with the turnout and the decorum demonstrated by everyone on site.

“A regular year with perfect weather would normally get 700 to 1,000 (visitors), so we are all very happy with the turnout” said Jennifer Black, Curator of the Pioneer Museum. “We expected lower numbers, but it was perfect for everyone to be comfortable, with lots of space to get around, but still lots to see.”

The highlight of the day was the grand prize draw, as chosen by Bessie the Cow. Bessie deposited her cow pie on a square chosen by St. Isidore resident Elodie Leduc, who only found our about her win on Monday morning when museum staff were able to reach her by phone.
“She was overjoyed to hear the news,” Black said.

Staff at the museum wanted to thank Caisse Desjardins in Alexandria, SDG Tourism and Munro Agromart for their support of the Harvest Festival. Thanks also went out to the Dunvegan Recreation Association for catering the concession stand.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Harvest Festival was scaled back, with no horse parade, beer garden, Star Inn bar or musical concerts under a tent. Masks were required whenever social distancing could not be maintained. Despite the challenges, visitors were in great spirits all day.

“The event was indeed a little more challenging to plan this year and we decided to drop our popular horse parade, but new features, such as the Cow Pie 50/50 raffle with Bessie the Cow choosing the winner, were a complete success,” Black said. “It was so nice to see so many familiar faces.”

“Many of the museum supporters were out catching up with each other; then there were others completely new to the museum, exploring for the first time. The agricultural demonstrators showed up in good numbers and they too seemed to be enjoying the opportunity to show their collections.”

Connie Horbas churns up fresh butter at Pioneer Museum Harvest Festival. Photo Reid Masson

Denis Lauzon demonstrates a 1915 corn chopper to interested onlookers at the Pioneer Museum’s Harvest Festival. Photo Reid Masson

Antique farm equipment and vintage diesel engines were also on display. Photo Reid Masson