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Without The Scarecrow Festival, Mahone Bay Would Be Overrun With Crows

(Illustration: Jessie McLaughlin)

I’m certainly not the first to say so, but it can sometimes feel like the Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival has gotten too commercial.

Sure, the tourist revenue is nice, but we shouldn’t forget the true reason for the season: protecting our homes and families from another crow takeover.

For those who don’t remember, let me take you back to the South Shore of 1995 – one year before Scarecrow Fest began.

Our region’s first Playstations began arriving at the Bridgewater Zellers, Hootie and the Blowfish enjoyed near continuous airtime on CKBW, and without warning, innumerable hordes of rampaging crows blacked out the skies above Mahone Bay on a crisp autumn morn.

Citizens bravely fought back, but their rocks and BB guns were no match for the tens of thousands of winged invaders. By noon that day, every citizen between exits 10 and 11 had either fled or was confined to their home. Mahone Bay belonged to the crows.

The townspeople’s cries for help fell on deaf ears. Federal authorities predicted that Quebec would vote to separate from the rest of the country if they heard that part of Canada was controlled by birds instead of people. For the sake of national unity, all official knowledge of Mahone Bay was disavowed. (That’s why there is no written record of these events.)

For an entire weekend, the crows ravaged the land, ate all the crops and looted the Save Easy. Then, just as suddenly as they had arrived, the crows flew away Monday at dawn. All they left behind were droppings, feathers, and a message pecked into the side of the bandstand, “NEXT YEAR”.

Everyone tried to go about their business, but the atmosphere in Mahone Bay was very tense for the rest of fall 1995 and most of 1996.

Residents were so gripped with fear, they could barely even enjoy the release of Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor that summer.

As the last weekend of September grew near, a town council meeting was held to vote on formally surrendering to the crows and abandoning the area.

But, inspired by the spirit of the times, Mahone Bay residents knew that to keep their town, they’d have to be bad, they’d have to be bold, they’d have to be wiser.

And so every family in town hastily fashioned a hideous beast out of burlap and displayed it on their lawn or place of business.

The more artistically inclined Mahoners made ones that looked like the celebrities of the day, just to lighten the apocalyptic mood a little bit.

The plan worked. When the conquering army of crows returned, it was their turn to be terrorized. The ghastly mob of grotesque mockeries of the human form on display made the crows panic and flee, presumably to besiege Yarmouth instead.

With their town safe, the people of Mahone Bay celebrated by watching the debut episode of Sabrina The Teenage Witch on TGIF.

This delicate dance has continued for 27 years. Every year the Crow King sends his advanced spies to Mahone Bay, and every year we put grisly monsters on our lawns to frighten them away.

So as you drive through Mahone Bay this fall, don’t just smile and take selfies with the scarecrows. Salute and honor them for keeping you and the whole community safe.


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