50TH ANNIVERSARY MAC SUMMER SHOW — Wooden toys and runaway cars
THE MUSKOKAN — The Muskoka Arts & Crafts Summer Show has had some interesting moments over the course of its 50-year history.
Jerry Thorpe has been a vendor at the show for close to 35 years. He’s seen a lot in that time, but the day that stands out the most was the time he nearly got killed.
It was about 20 years ago, and an older woman who was parked at the far end of the grounds got in her car and found the accelerator pedal was stuck.
Thorpe said the vehicle came hurtling in their direction and went through a nearby tent.
“This car came barreling through,” he said. “It went up through the field, people were scattering all over the place before it hit a pine tree.”
After bouncing off a few trees another visitor was able to run up to the vehicle and shut off the ignition. Remarkably, no one was seriously hurt in the incident.
“The funny thing is our son was with us at that time, and he was visiting other crafters. He came running back after it happened and said, ‘I just wanted to see if I still had parents,’” Thorpe said.
The enduring legacy of the incident is a mark on one of the pine trees at Annie Williams Memorial Park where the runaway vehicle finally came to a stop.
Despite that chaotic event, Thorpe’s overall experience with the show has been very positive. A wooden toy maker by trade, Thorpe said the Muskoka Arts & Crafts Summer Show has a reputation with vendors for being a high quality event.
In the decades he has taken part in the show, Thorpe said there has been very few changes to the show.
“It’s probably a good thing that it really hasn’t changed much,” said Thorpe. “It’s always been really great both in the products sold there and the people who go to it.”
While the show’s quality has remained consistent, one notable change has been the event’s growing popularity. This year’s event is expected to attract close to 25,000 visitors.
Another change that Thorpe believes has been for the better is the way vendors are assigned their booth locations.
“We used to have to line up at about five o’clock in the morning outside the gates. At about seven o’clock they opened the gates and it was like the Oklahoma land rush,” explained Thorpe. “We had to rush in and try to get a spot before someone else did. I’m surprised no one ever got hurt doing that.”
For a chance to check out Thorpe’s toys, visit his booth this year at the Muskoka Arts & Craft Show.