The first Festival was held September 1, 2 & 3, 1967 as a project to celebrate Canada’s Centennial. The first Festival had income of $1,462.00 and expenses of $1,167.00, was one block long along Stephen Street, the stage was a hayrack, local talent provided the entertainment and the Farmer’s Market was the big draw.
Started as a 2-day FREE event and expanded to three days in 1988. The FREE has never changed.
In the first year 200 cobs of cooked corn and 80 gallons of cider were served. In the early years the corn was donated by Morden Fine Foods and the butter by Morden Creamery. The Morden Kinsmen Club planted and grew corn for the festival for many years. Tickets were distributed for free corn and cider and people registered to receive their tickets.
The Morden Museum members (now Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre) have been a mainstay of the Festival. They sold apple pie and raffle tickets to raise money for Canada’s first museum of paleontology.
The first Corn and Apple Festival parade was held in 1975. The Shriners have been a part of our Parade since 1977.
Fehr Way Tours have provided a bus for Free Tours since 1977. Originally the price to ride this bus from Winnipeg was $5.00.
The Wonder Shows midway became an attraction of the Corn & Apple Festival in 1968.
Originally the Morden Elks Club served barbequed Chicken, not Beef. The Chicken Barbeque was later taken over by the Chamber of Commerce and then the Lions Club.
Rain at the Festival in 1970, 1971, 1975 and 1992 forced the Queen Pageant and main stage entertainment inside. As a result the first stage canopy was purchased in 1977 to protect performers and equipment, the second was purchased for the 25 th Anniversary in 1991. A permanent electrical panel was installed in 1976 to provide adequate power to the stage.
The 1970 Princess was entered in the 1971 Miss Manitoba pageant.
The first pie baking and pie eating contests were held in 1974. The first beer garden sponsored by the Morden Hockey Club was held this year as well.
Children’s Events became a permanent attraction in 1975. Events that year included a kite flying contest, model airplane demonstration, fish pond and a pet show.
The giant apple pie was first used to open the festival in 1976 and continued to 2007.
Portable washroom trailers were first supplied in 1978.
Mascots Cob and Cora were first introduced in 1978. Costumes were first used in 1988.
Free Shuttle Bus service was introduced in 1980.
The Province of Manitoba first started contributing grant money to the Festival in 1982.
The Corn and Apple Festival was incorporated December 30, 1976.
For fundraising, souvenirs, corn and apple cider were first sold at the 1984 Festival.
In 1985 Arden Stutzman designed a stage on a truck chassis whose sides folded up for easy transportation. This design continues to be used today.
Took Morden apples to the Panda bears visiting the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg.
Corporate sponsorship from Sun Rype and Coca-Cola in 1990 raised the profile of the Festival to a national level.
Extended the Festival to three days in 1990. The Christian Programs Committee took responsibility for main stage entertainment on Sunday.
In 2004 Morden was honoured when a new variety of apple tree developed at the Morden Research Station was named for the Corn and Apple Festival. The fruit of the “Morden Festival” ripens in late summer, a week earlier than the ‘Goodland’ so that it is ready for the Corn and Apple Festival. The apples are sweeter than the ‘Goodland’ and are approximately the same size.• In 2010 the Festival introduced its 5th new float design; five of which were designed and built by Checker Signs of Morden.
Promotion of the festival has increased each year from a one-fold brochure to a new booklet design in 2010.
Won the Pembina Valley Tourism Award Event of the Year in 2010.
Federal Funding through Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage started in 2011. New events: Art Walk, Youth Stage and Historical Bus Tours were added to the Festival.
The Festival took over its own administration in 2010 and the office was housed in the Anglican Church and then into a permanent location at 379 Stephen Street.
Conducted an Economic Impact Assessment in 2011 showing over $1 million in economic activity is generated by the Festival annually.
Built a new storage shed on property donated by the City in 2011.
The Festival and the Chamber of Commerce partnered in the purchase of 379 Stephen Street in 2012.
Created a new Workplace Health & Safety Management System for Staff, Volunteers and Contractors in 2012.
Built new electrical pedestals for street space use in 2013.
Renovation on two washroom trailers were completed in 2014.
Was a featured event in Manitoba Year of Music in 2014.
Recycling carts donated by Manitoba Association for Resource Recovery Corp were introduced in 2014.
Prairie Research Associates conducted a survey in Winnipeg to gauge local enthusiasm for “Winnipeg” Festivals we noted that 12% of respondents identified the Morden Corn & Apple Festival! in 2015.
Celebrating our 50th Annual Festival in 2016. Events to include the sale of Pandora Apple charms; fundraising Social; Variety Show; Memory Book; Wine Tasting Event; Homecoming events during the Festival.
Attained Star Celebration: Marquis Tourism Celebration status from Manitoba Tourism Secretariat in 2016.
Compost Carts funded by Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship were introduced in 2016.