Last year, several scarecrows captured the attention of drivers passing by the Sampson County Extension Center on U.S. 421.
“They’ll turn around and come back, get out and look at them,” said Brad Hardison, horticulture agent. “It was a big draw here at the extension office.”
Sampson County’s Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (EMGV) and Cooperative Extension hosted the first “Scarecrow in the Park” contest in 2017, with less than a dozen of entries. With the contest being open to everyone this year, Hardison is hoping that this year’s contest brings more scarecrows to flood the area. They will be displayed in wooded picnic area at the extension office from Monday, Oct. through Sunday, Nov. 4.
Officials are accepting up to 50 entries. Last year, the contest was open to a few civic groups, but now it’s open to residents, schools, civic clubs, businesses and other organizations.
“We hope everyone does participate and come out,” Hardison said.
He added that the purpose is to raise awareness about agriculture and the history of scarecrows through the contest.
“That was one of the historic ways that farmers in Sampson County used pest control,” Hardison said. “You see it being used in home gardens today.”
SCEMGV member Mary Burke-Bass is also looking forward to the event.
“This year we’re hoping for it to be bigger and better and involve more people,” Burke-Bass said.
The deadline to register is Friday, Sept. 21 and the entry fee is $10 per scarecrow. Participation is limited to the first 50 registrants. Registrations forms and fees may be dropped off from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday at the EMGV Plant Clinic, room 115, 55 Agriculture Place, Clinton. Entry forms are available online at www.go.ncsu.edu/scarecrows.
Registration forms may also be mailed to Scarecrow in the Park, NC Cooperative Extension Sampson County, 55 Agriculture Place, Clinton, NC 28328.
Participants may set up their scarecrows from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 through Friday, Sept., 28; and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. EMGV members will be variable to assign a location on the site.
According to the guidelines, scarecrows must stand upright and participants are responsible for supplying materials required for the display. Commercial made scarecrows are not allowed and cannot be larger than 6-by-3 feet. Construction should be durable for severe weather and entries should be monitored throughout the duration. If the exhibit is no maintained properly, it will be removed from the site. According to the rules, entries must be in good taste and appropriate for public viewing. Adult, political and religious themes are not allowed. Frightening, scary, violent, gruesome and bloody entries will not be accepted.
Scarecrows must be named and have at least one gardening tool, plant or flower or have an accessory.
Cooperative Extension staff members and EMGV have the right to decline entries if it’s inappropriate.
A committee of judges will select a winner to display at the Clinton Square Street Fair, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 13. The first place winner will receive a $25 and a first place ribbon. Second and third place winners will be awarded ribbons.
For more information, contact extension officials at 910-592-7161.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.