Annual scarecrow contest to continue in Bernardston; entrants sought

  • An “Arachnisaurus” scarecrow greets visitors at the 2018 Scarecrow in the Park festival in Bernardston. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

  • Bernardston resident Russell Deane secures Dorothy’s gloves while getting ready for the 2019 Scarecrow in the Park festival in Bernardston. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2020 2:52:28 PM

BERNARDSTON — While this year’s festivities won’t take place in full as a result of the pandemic, organizers of Scarecrow in the Park, the festival that takes place every October in Cushman Park, are still calling on local creatives to take part in the 16th annual scarecrow contest.

According to organizer Karen Stinchfield, once scarecrows are set up in the park by the deadline of noon on Friday, Oct. 16, they will remain on display through Halloween. Creators must remove their scarecrows by Nov. 5.

“It is expected that folks who are setting up their scarecrow displays will be careful to observe social distancing guidelines,” Stinchfield said. “The same is expected of those who come out to enjoy the displays once they are in place.”

Registration forms with contest requirements and details are available on the Scarecrow in the Park Facebook page, at the mini kiosk in Cushman Park at the intersection of Routes 5 and 10, and by request by emailing scarecrowinthepark@gmail.com.

This year’s scarecrow contest categories include scariest, funniest, prettiest and most interesting use of materials. There is no rotating fifth category this year, Stinchfield said. There is an entry fee of $5, which will enter participants in all four categories. Judging will take place soon after the Oct. 16 deadline, and the winner in each category will receive a $100 prize.

Starting eight years ago, Scarecrow in the Park began featuring various artists who set up stations in Cushman Park to interact with residents and sell their wares. This won’t be able to happen this year, but Stinchfield said she is setting up online art sales to connect artists and customers, beginning the weekend of Oct. 16.

Proceeds from Scarecrow in the Park usually benefit the Bernardston Kiwanis Club’s scholarship fund, but Kiwanis Club member and chair of the Scarecrow in the Park Committee Brandon Grover said the club may pay out more than it takes in this year. He pointed out that, in addition to the lack of food sales, organizers dropped this year’s entry fee from the usual $10 to encourage participation.

“It’s fun,” Grover said. “It’s something for kids and parents to do together.”

“We wanted to give families something fun to do,” Stinchfield agreed. “We hope families will craft together.”

In past years, classroom groups have gotten together to build a scarecrow. Stinchfield said that is not part of the contest this year because organizers didn’t want to encourage children to gather outside of school hours during the lasting pandemic.

One of the contest rules states that scarecrow displays cannot take up more than a 10-by-10-foot space. However, Stinchfield, who is also director of Cushman Library, teased the library may bend this rule for a “Follow the Reader” scarecrow display. She hopes to put the “reader” in place by Oct. 11, and is inviting others to build a child, animal or book character scarecrow to be the “followers.”

Stinchfield said she is hoping to win “most interesting use of materials,” and is encouraging others to use interesting materials for the “follower” scarecrows. If there are enough participating in her display, she may have to go beyond the 10-by-10-foot area. More information on how to participate in the “Follow the Reader” display is available at bit.ly/33yahvq.

Grover said the scarecrow contest usually draws between 40 and 50 entries. With the scarecrows on display for two weeks after the Oct. 16 deadline, Grover said he hopes many families will visit Cushman Park to see the scarecrows at their leisure.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.



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