Frequent hail storms close together intermingled with some flooded areas in June/July had questions being raised if the vegetable one of the largest free festivals in North America is known for, would be in ample supply for Cornfest this weekend.
“In my recollection, the frequency and severity of these storms certainly have seemed to be at a new level these last couple of years,” said Ray Bryant, mayor of the Town of Taber. “We had a tornado touch down last year and this year we had a number, of what I would consider violent rain and hail, that had created some problems in this area. It was the violent nature of the storms that was concerning.”
Historically, Bryant added there has always been that odd year which has put pressure on corn growers thanks to the uncooperative nature of Mother Nature.
“But, Cornfest is a year of planning. It will happen and it will go on and we assume there will be corn. It would go on even if there wasn’t corn,” said Bryant. “We want all the pieces put together so that Cornfest 2013 will be the best ever.”
Brian Brewin, reeve for the M.D. of Taber, has heard from farmers their affected crop could literally be from quarter to quarter where one area was devastated with the one right next to it relatively unscathed.
“With the corn already out for awhile, no one can say we aren’t going to have any corn for Cornfest. The quality might be down a little bit with the crop a little later,” said Brewin. “It’s all a matter of perspective with the hail. This year it seemed to be the Taber area where a couple of years back it was the Barnwell area. Hail always seems to focus in one area, it’s sort of weird. The Coaldale area is a prime example, you drive over there and there’s no crop at all. But you go 10 miles down the road, and they have a bumper crop, one of the best crops they’ve ever had. That’s Mother Nature.”
Even if there had been a worst-case scenario, where those initial fears were realized of a totally devastated corn crop, it wouldn’t have dampened the volunteering spirit of those who put on Cornfest. “We are a pretty resilient bunch. But, we wouldn’t have gone so far as eating someone else’s corn,” said Brewin.