Festival History

  • The first Festival was held September 1, 2 & 3, 1967 as a project to celebrate Canada’s Centennial. The first Festival was one block long along Stephen Street, the stage was a hay rack, 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. 
  • The first Corn and Apple Festival parade was held in 1975.
  • The Wonder Shows midway became an attraction of the Corn & Apple Festival in 1968, and still is to this day.
  • The first beer garden (sponsored by the Morden Hockey Club) was held in 1974.
  • 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.
  • Free Shuttle Bus service was introduced in 1980.
  • The Province of Manitoba first started contributing grant money to the Festival in 1982.
  • The Corn & Apple Festival was incorporated December 30, 1976.
  • In 1985 Arden Stutzman designed a stage on a truck chassis whose sides folded up for easy transportation. This stage continues to be used today as the Festival main stage.
  • In 2004 Morden was honoured when a new variety of apple tree developed at the Morden Research Station was named for the Corn & 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.
  • Won the Pembina Valley Tourism Award Event of the Year in 2010.
  • Federal Funding through Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage started in 2011. The Art Walk, Youth Stage, and Historical Bus Tours were added to the Festival as a result.
  • The Festival took over its own administration in 2010, and operates as a stand-alone non-profit. 
  • Conducted an Economic Impact Assessment in 2011 showing over $1 million in economic activity is generated by the Festival annually.
  • Was a featured event in Manitoba Year of Music in 2014.
  • 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.
  • In 2017 of all garbage collected over the three day Festival 87% was recycled.