Scare­crows to again haunt Peach­land

The Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By RON SEY­MOUR

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.

Photo con­trib­uted

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.

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