The Zucchini Test Bake Ovens Organizing Committee have decided that given that the festival area is fenced off, overrun with weeds and a giant construction site, we will be cancelling the Zucchini Festival this year. But we will be back next year (2019), promise!
Zucchinis in the News!
150th Annual Zucchini Festival (Millbrook Times, August 3, 2017)
Amidst the hubbub surrounding Canada's sesquicentennial, it would be easy to forget that 2017 also marks the 150th anniversary of the first Millbrook Zucchini Festival. This year's festival, which will take place on September 10, 2017 along the sunny shores of Baxter Creek, commemorates that momentous occasion, 150 years ago, when a group of visionary farmers met in Millbrook to discuss the dubious future of the much-maligned zucchini in our fledgling township.
|As can be seen here, the oft-misrepresented painting of the “Fathers of Confederation” is clearly the first meeting of the Millbrook Zucchini Test Bake Ovens Organizing Committee, held in the gathering room of the old Old Millbrook School on July 25, 1867. Through the windows one can identify downtown Millbrook as it was then, along with the millpond.|
It was determined at that historic meeting that the best way to preserve and promote our weird zucchini heritage would be to host an annual festival. The festival, they decided, would honour a heritage that dated back to early colonial times when giant zucchini canoes piled high with pelts plied the lakes and waterways of British North America in support of the European's insatiable need for furs. This tradition continued with the great zucchini drives of the 1800's when the Canadian zucchinis were used to build the sailing ships that gave Britain dominance over the world.
|Zucchinis helped build the Canada we know as evidenced here by their presence at that seminal event, the driving in of the last spike in Canada's coast to coast railroad. A little known alternate fact is that the railroad was built primarily to facilitate the transport of zucchinis.|
Little did our forefathers imagine that their festival would continue uninterrupted for the next 150 years, growing from hosting the more traditional zucchini events like the zucchini toss and zucchini wrestling to the current fun-filled day of zucchini carving, boat races in the creek, cooking contests, zucchini bobbing, and zucchini poetry and song.
Events planned for this year's sesquicentennial include, well, pretty much the same things as the festival has done in the past. However, a very special tribute is being planned to mark this special occasion. And if you're guessing a Giant Rubber Zucchini in the Millbrook pond, you might be on the right track.
|Every spring the previous fall's harvest of zucchinis would be floated via Canada's turbulent waterways from our great zucchini farms in the north to mills where they would be cut into filets and shipped around the world.|
Strange outbreak hits local zucchini patch (Millbrook Times, Sept. 1, 2016)
Gordon Nomekuz has been farming in this area for over 40 years but this season has presented him with a unique challenge. And it isn’t the drought.
“Darnedest thing I ever saw,” Gord says, as we walk through 67 acres of beans, peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables. “I planted them the same as every year but they didn’t come up the same, I can tell you that much.” He points toward a healthy zucchini plant. As we approach the plant, it becomes obvious what the problem is.
“There,” Gord says, lifting a leaf.
A bright blue zucchini, but with eyes, ears and a sort of tail peeks out from under the plant.
“And there’s more of them. Every plant. All different colours,” Gord tells me, the frustration obvious in his voice. “Can’t sell ‘em. Nobody wants to cook these things when they look at you like that.”
We walk further down the row – yellow ones, red ones, a few green ones – these bizarre mutant zucchinis are puzzling, to say the least. The tomato crop, growing right beside them, is apparently unaffected by the mysterious syndrome, which has struck more than one zucchini patch in this area. Other farmers have reported a similar problem, with many of them resorting to drastic measures to control the outbreak. One farmer, who preferred to remain anonymous, has taken to spraying her zucchini patch with Lysol in an attempt to stop the spread. “I think it’s a virus,” she said. “This should kill it.”
But scientists are more cautiously optimistic about the situation. Agricultural researcher Dr. Inicchuz, of the University of Guelph, suggests that we learn to live with the oddities, rather than eradicate them. “Our preliminary studies seem to show that these zucchinis may actually be good for the environment,” he says. “Tests on several red ones and a couple of yellows has revealed higher serotonin levels on individuals who are exposed to these zucchinis, leading to an increase of both mirth and glee. Frankly, we were surprised.” And although scientists can’t guarantee that these results are permanent, they do appear to last for several hours at the very least.
But Gordon Nomekuz is unconvinced. “I don’t like it one bit. I’m telling you, it’s all these crazy kids and their interwebs and their cell phones – ruining everything for the rest of us. I just want my old zucchinis back.”
Breaking News! Fifth Zucchini Baby Left on Steps of Church
Clearly not heeding the advice of Doctor Susan Beanstock to seek a "culinary approach to the problem" (Millbrook Times, August 29, 2013), a fifth zucchini orphan has been discovered abandoned on the steps of the former United church in Millbrook.
|Photo received from perpetrator of zucchini abandonments|
The fact that each and every one of the accompanying hand-written notes pinned to the orphans is in the same handwriting leaves no doubt that these are the acts of a single, seriously deranged individual, and has nothing to do with distraught gardeners looking for a solution to a super abundance of zucchinis. Doubtlessly the perpetrator mistook the now private home of Anita and Ryan Huntley for a real church and were simply exploiting the time-honourd tradition of pastoral communites taking in orphaned vegetables and caring for them.
On a related note, this photograph, taken at an undisclosed location, displays this year's crop of zucchini orphans being donated to the Festival by the good people at Farmers' Dell in Campbellcroft. Will it be enough?
|This year's "volunteers" for the Zucchini Festival.|
Abandoned Zucchini Babies
|This poor little fella was left on the doorstep of the Pastry Peddlar in downtown Millbrook.|
When contacted for comment the festival organizers said, "We do not condone the wanton abandonment of orphaned zucchinis. But we would be happy to give the little fellas' spirits a lift and the thrill of a lifetime with our Giant Zucchini Bambini Jollyjumper Slingshot on Sunday, September 8!"
|And this little foundling was abandoned in front of the Bear Essentials store. Both have become Facebook celebrities since.|
Guerilla Zucchini Plantings
In the spring of this year guerilla plantings of zucchinis began mysteriously showing up in flower gardens around the village with a sign saying, "I am just a little zucchini plant. Please let me live!" While some were unceremoniously rooted out, others survived and thrived. Like the one in the photo below.
|Zucchini plant growing under one of the ""Welcome to Millbrook" signs.|
One of those rooted out was replaced by this sign:
Which inspired the unpublished cartoon below.