Scarecrow in the Park returns

  • The Scarecrow in the Park fall festival will be held Saturday and Sunday in Cushman Park in Bernardston. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/18/2016 6:18:49 PM

BERNARDSTON — As leaves begin to fall over Cushman Park, organizers of the Scarecrow in the Park fall festival prepare for the event’s 12th year.

The festival, free and open to the public, will be held Saturday and Sunday in Cushman Park, located on the corner of Routes 5 and 10. It will feature live music, craft and food vendors, hay rides, children’s activities, a tractor parade, a Halloween dance party, and of course, a scarecrow crafting contest.

Artist Liaison Karen Stinchfield said the event first began after Mike Doherty, owner of 7 South Bakery Cafe, saw a park full of scarecrows while vacationing in France. When he returned to Bernardston, he proposed the idea to the Bernardston Kiwanis Club, which started Scarecrow in the Park.

Since its beginnings, the event has expanded from one day to two and has added arts and crafts vendors, a demonstration by police officers and their dogs, and an expanded assortment of food, according to Stinchfield.

“We have surpassed 50 artists and craftspeople and have a great assortment,” Stinchfield said, adding that craftspeople come from New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and across the Pioneer Valley to participate. “It’s just blossomed.”

A play, called “The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged),” is a new feature this year. It will be performed under a heated tent in Cushman Park on Friday starting at 7 p.m.

Stinchfield said the event provides something to interest people of all ages, bringing local residents both young and old together.

“I’d like to think that its one of the big events in town where the community really comes together,” she said. “Plus, it’s for a great cause. It raises money for the Kiwanis Scholarship Fund.”

According to Bernardston Kiwanis Club member Andrew Girard, proceeds from Scarecrow in the Park are able to cover the $1,500 worth of scholarships awarded by the club each year.

“I would like to see the event grow so that we could increase the monies in the scholarships,” Girard said. “The cost of education is always rising, and we see the strain on the students and their families and want to help as much as we can.”

The main event, the scarecrow crafting contest, features five categories: scariest, funniest, prettiest, most interesting use of materials, and a new category which rotates among reading, math, science and history, with this year’s theme being science. The newest category is meant to encourage teachers to incorporate crafting a scarecrow into their regular lesson plans, as Stinchfield said there are often entrants from the Bernardston Elementary School.

Registration costs $5 per category, and participants may enter their scarecrow in as many categories as they choose. All five categories offer a $100 prize. WHAI, a Greenfield radio station, will also offer its own prize in a separate category: my favorite musical decade.

“People do stuff that you might never imagine,” Stinchfield said of the scarecrow contest. “It’s fun to see how creative people can be with unexpected items.”

Artists and crafters’ booths will be open in the park Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Musicians play between the same hours, including Kurt Damkoehler, Celtic Heels, Sarah Devine, Corki & Ken and the Bork-Tinen-Kahn Trio on Saturday, and Squash Blossom, Pat & Tex LaMountain, Appalachian Still and Falltown String Band on Sunday.

Guests can have coffee, hot chocolate and pastries in the Senior Center at 8:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Children’s activities will be offered in the park and the Powers Institute Museum will also be open both days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday’s events include a tag sale and raffle at the Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the tractor parade at noon, the Halloween Dance Party in the music tent at 12:45 p.m., hay rides from 1 to 3 p.m. and a demonstration by police officers and their canines at 3 p.m.

Sunday’s events include a pancake breakfast at the Bernardston Fire Department featuring DJ Chase Barton from 8 to 10 a.m. and a raffle at the Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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