Scarecrow Festival Calls for Bale of Straw, a Bit of Creativity

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Baruch Yackley

From pumpkins to papier-mache, a scarecrow's brain can be housed inside virtually any kind of head. If you enjoy creating a work of art, or something just plain silly, the 16th annual St. Charles Scarecrow Festival invites you to submit your scarecrow creation for all to see.

This year's festival is Oct. 12-14. Entries are being accepted now through Oct. 5. Participation in the scarecrow contest is free and open to anyone. There are no limitations on individuals, families, businesses and organizations, inside or outside of the St. Charles area.

This is always a popular event, During last year's Scarecrow Fest, 159 unique creations lined the sidewalks.

Scarecrow creations compete in five categories: Traditional, St. Charles-Based Business, Children, Whimsical, and Mechanical.

"I think one of the aspects that has become comical is the friendly competition between the businesses," said Val O'Dell, Scarecrow Festival coordinator from the St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau. "This is a fun competition against peers in the business industry. It's neat to see them one-up each other."

O'Dell added that this is a wonderful opportunity for people to step outside the box and demonstrate their creativity.

Scarecrow creations in the Business Category can be either mechanical, whimsical or traditional. This special category is open to all for-profit businesses within the City of St. Charles. Businesses outside of St. Charles are invited to participate in the Traditional, Whimsical, or Mechanical categories.

The Mechanical Category is only for those who wish to power up their creations. Entries must include parts that move or make noise. For the first time, electricity will be provided free of charge, and this must be the only means of mechanization. Contestants need to provide their own 50-foot extension cords. Space for this category is limited, and is reserved on a first- come, first-served basis.

The Traditional Category is open to everyone, with the requirement that scarecrow entries must be made from straw or hay. These fellows cannot have any electrical or mechanical components, and must resemble old-fashioned scarecrows one used to see guarding fields.

The Whimsical Category accepts the widest range of creative entries, and contestants can use almost anything to create their scarecrow.

And the Children's Category is open to individuals and groups whose members are 12 years old or younger. Parents and other adults must keep their involvement to a minimum, in order to maintain the integrity of this category.

There are many rules and regulations for your scarecrow and you. Here are a few of the highlights:

All entries must fit within a 4x4 foot area; no items such as tiki torches or any other flammable objects are allowed; human scarecrows or mechanical ones facilitated by a human are not allowed; no entry will be accepted that reflects controversial, social, or political situations; and no handouts, promotional materials or free giveaways can be associated with a scarecrow entry.

The complete list of guidelines is available from the Web site, or from the St. …