rockwood bank scarecrow

The third year of Eureka’s Scarecrow Festival, which kicks off Saturday, Oct. 1, promises a good-natured competition between past winners and those who hope to capture the scarecrow crown.

More than 100 sculpted scarecrows will be unveiled at the start of the festival.

Businesses, schools, churches, civic clubs and subdivision entrance are invited to prepare and display a scarecrow. People vote for their favorites. Each vote costs $1. Money raised benefits the Eureka Food Pantry. Last year, the event raised $1,500.

The Oct. 1 kickoff includes a Fall Festival and Vintage Artisan Fair.

The Fall Festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Legions Park, 333 Bald Hill Road, in Eureka. Activities include hay rides, crafts, games, airbrush tattoos, human foosball, balloons, food, beverages and live music.

Those attending are asked to bring lawn chairs. All activities are free for those who donate a non-perishable food item.

The annual Vintage Artisan Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Timbers of Eureka Recreation Center, 1 Coffey Park Lane, featuring upcycled furniture (used furniture that has been creatively repurposed), art and collectible items. Entry is free.

Live music will be performed by The Jukebox Band with Mike “The Horn Dog,” Stevie G and Cindy. Food and beverages will be available.

Barbara Scheer, chairman of the event, said the Scarecrow Festival helps build community pride and attract visitors to Eureka.

Plus, she said, it’s fun to see a little friendly competition develop.

The creative team at Rockwood Bank won the contest the first year by crafting a scarecrow that looked like a fine lady tending her garden, complete with a wheelbarrow and a money tree. The bank’s entries are by Charlene Birke, who is a loan processor at the bank.

Last year, the bank’s scarecrow festival entry, a fisherman using dollars on the end of his fishing pole, lost out to Eureka Physical Therapy’s Blues Brothers-themed entry. Kim Miller and the staff at Eureka Physical Therapy will be competing again this year.

Kimberly Blanton, assistant to the president at Rockwood Bank, said the banks’ entry should be a contender this year. The theme is a closely guarded secret until scarecrows are unveiled Oct. 1.

‘Works of art’

Scheer said she visited a similar scarecrow festival in California and thought it would fit the Eureka community. She convinced the city to back the project and it kicked off in 2014.

At first, city officials were skeptical, Scheer said.

“When you think of scarecrows, you think of straw,” she said. “These are works of art. They are different and very creative. Many are made out of recycled materials.”

The first year, about 100 scarecrows were entered in the contest. Last year, the number grew to 136. Scheer said this year will again top 100 entries, but she doesn’t yet know how many scarecrows will go on display because people can enter scarecrows throughout the month of October.

“We put out an official scarecrow map with a dot for every registered scarecrow,” she explained. The deadline for the printed map has passed, but new entries will be included on the online map.

Some scarecrow viewers choose to drive from one place to other, but Scheer recommends taking a stroll instead.

“The most fun is to walk around,” she said. “You miss so much driving. When you walk around you will see all the details and the little tags.”

Throughout October, groups of visitors tour Eureka admiring the scarecrows.

“You’ll see people walking around, stopping, laughing,” Scheer said. “You will see people standing around, taking pictures. They want to see them all.”

All the scarecrows are family friendly.

This year for the first time, votes can be cast online. Or votes can be turned in at local banks.

Winners are announced just before Halloween.

Other Scarecrow Festival events will be held during the month. Scheer said details will be on the festival’s website,