Third Minto Headstone Hunt to focus on local war veterans

MINTO – The third annual Minto Headstone Hunt gets underway next week.

The contest, which offers $800 in prizes, involves finding six monuments in cemeteries in Harriston, Palmerston and Clifford. Contestants must find all the monuments and answer questions to relating them.

The contest launches on Aug. 1 and runs for four weeks. Organizer John McVicar said that time frame should give everyone an opportunity to “hopefully have a rain-free weekend” to get out to the cemeteries.

“In the past, I’ve used monuments of well-known people in Minto’s history, but this year, in honour of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, I’m using only monuments of veterans,” McVicar explained in an email.

“A lot of our boys arrived in France shortly after D-Day and ended up fighting through Belgium and ending up in Holland.

“We have a huge number of people in our area of Dutch  heritage, and I’ve been told that this kind of contest is of special interest to them.  In the entry form, as in past years, there’s a brief description of each vet and some of that includes fighting in some of the toughest areas of the Netherlands.”

McVicar said he held the contest for the first time in 2017 and drew 12 entries. Last year, there were 173 participants with an increasing number of contestants from surrounding municipalities.

Entry forms are available at a number of locations including the library, Legion, Blessings To You and CIBC branch in Palmerston; the Minto administration centre, Minto Chamber of Commerce office, Leslie Motors, Harriston Bakery, the Legion, Steckle’s Farm Produce, Harriston Superior Monuments and Miller Insurance in Harriston; and Miller Insurance and Wightman Telecom in Clifford.

McVicar said he is planning to add some spots outside of Minto this year, particularly in Mapleton.

“Several of the boys from  Palmerston served after D-Day until the end of the war and so they swung  northeast through Belgium and Holland. There are a huge number of Dutch farm families in Mapleton and we all know how they feel about our lads’ war service,” he notes.

Completed forms should be returned to McVicar at 60 Mill Street, Harriston by 5pm on Aug. 22.

Draws for five cash prizes, including the $300 first prize, will be held on Aug. 24 at noon at the Palmerston Farmers Market, located at the Palmerston Railway Heritage Museum.