Scarecrow Contest Reflects on America’s Pop Culture Past

By: Kurt Buesching | September 12, 2011

Marilyn Monroe, Jerry Garcia, Michael Jackson, Superman. They’re all part of America’s iconic pop culture past — the theme of this year’s Farmington scarecrow building contest, put on by the Downtown Development Authority.

The annual contest, now in its seventh year, complements the city’s Harvest Moon Celebration, which includes entertainment, wine, beer and food tastings, and fall-themed activities and decorations. Each year, residents are invited to create scarecrows that reflect a theme. The scarecrows help decorate the downtown and get residents and local merchants involved in the celebration.

“Last year, (the theme) was movies,” said Penny Oglesby, a member of the “Scare Force” committee that’s organizing the contest. “We were kicking around some ideas for something historic. It opens up more imaginative scarecrows when you have historic icons involved. I love seeing the creativity of people.”

Last year’s scarecrows, for example, included Rapunzel, created by Legato Salon; the three little pigs and characters from The Wizard of Oz.

The Scare Force is calling for kids, adults, families and businesses to get creative and build a unique scarecrow that depicts America’s pop culture. The committee is advertising the event at the Saturday Farmers & Artisans markets as well as in schools and in the newspaper, and hoping to see at least 50 entries come to the market at the Sundquist Pavilion on Grand River Avenue Oct. 8, which is the deadline for the contest. There were 37 last year and 65 in 2009.

The entries must include straw and should be sturdily and built and able to withstand outdoor weather. Each entry also needs to have an application turned in to identify the creators and provide contact information.

The scarecrows will be judged according to three individual categories – adults 18 and older, teens 12 to 17 years old, and children 11 and younger; three group categories – adults 18 and older, teens 12 to 17 years old, and children 11 and younger; and a category for businesses. Winners will be announced at the Oct. 15 Farmers & Artisans Market.

Business entries are great, Oglesby said, because they promotes community involvement and provide merchants with a fun way to market themselves.

The scarecrows stay on display in the pavilion throughout the fall. “It’ll continue the fall theme into November” during autumn Farmers Markets, Oglesby said.

The contest is open to anyone, regardless of where they live. For more information or for an application, visit www.downtownfarmington.org.