Scarecrows to again haunt Peachland
The founder of Peachland was a respected teacher, newspaper editor, provincial politician and prospector. He was also a big believer in spiritualism.
Even by the standards of the late 19th century, James Moore Robinson used unorthodox methods to try to discover gold deposits.
Robinson was a devotee of mineral psychometrics, which was based on the idea that valuable deposits of gold and silver could be located by psychics in tune with unseen energy fields produced by the precious metals.
Robinson used a clairvoyant named Anne Anderson to help him prospect for gold in the hills of Peachland, the town he created in 1898 when he realized there wasn’t, in fact, money to be made in mining in the area.
As believers in things more illusory than real, it’s fitting that Anderson and Robinson live on today as the main symbols of the Peachland Scarecrow Festival.
The second annual event, to run Sept. 30 to Oct. 15, is an attempt to breathe some economic life into Peachland, which becomes a pretty sleepy town in the off-season.
Residents and townsfolk are encouraged to create as many scarecrows as possible, in as many themes and outfits as the imagination can conceive, in a bid to create something of an annual tourist attraction.
Last year’s scarecrow collection included skeletons and firefighters, ghosts and bats, pumpkin-headed creations and pirates, dentists and chefs, doctors and purplehaired high-fashion models.
The theme for this year’s festival is Historic Peachland. But the scarecrows don’t have to represent figures from the past to be eligible for prizes to be awarded by judges evaluating the creations for creativity and detail.
“Don’t try too hard for realism — it isn’t the purpose of a scarecrow,” the festival’s website advises. “Your scarecrow can be funny, scary or anywhere in between.”
The inaugural festival attracted about 50 scarecrows, but organizer Eldon Kerbes is hopeful there will be more on display this year.
“We got a lot of positive feedback about the festival, with people saying it was something fun and different for Peachland,” Kerbes said Thursday.
All scarecrows must be moved to Heritage Park on Beach Avenue on Oct. 7 if their creators want them included in the judging.
Peachland town founder J.M. Robinson, upper right, standing, is shown at the front of a mine he developed with the aid of his clairvoyant, Anne Anderson, left.