There’s one week left to register for the Scarecrow Festival and create a hay-filled warden to watch over Farmington Avenue.
Parks and Recreation Administrative Assistant Terri Noyes said she’s hoping to see many interesting entries this year to rival some of the festival’s most memorable scarecrows, including one which scaled the side of Painter’s Edge on a ladder with a paintbrush.
“We’ve had some unusual ones,” she said.
Entries are being accepted at the Parks and Recreation Department until 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10. The scarecrows have to be set up by the end of the day on Sunday, Oct. 13. Town staff will work with participants to determine a location near storefronts along Farmington Avenue or in Volunteer Park.
Noyes said the festival has become a popular way for businesses to add a bit of flair and to engage with residents.
Before his retirement, Dr. Michael Tossati — who ran a dentistry practice on Farmington Avenue — created tooth decay and tooth fairy scarecrows. Cutting Edge produced a scarecrow on a snowboard. A Shear Perfection recreated a hairstylist.
Participation in the Scarecrow Festival has been falling in recent years though, and Noyes attributes this, in part, to the Berlin Fair now being held closer to the festival.
The highest number of scarecrows entered was 28 in 2014. The festival saw 14 scarecrows last year.
Noyes hopes to get more interest with the addition of an online portal for residents to vote for their favorite scarecrows. Physical ballot boxes will remain in place at the Community Center, library and Senior Center. Voting opens Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. and wraps up Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m.
The $20 contest entry fee is divvied up into prizes for the best scarecrow from children’s organizations, businesses, adult groups, families and the overall best in show. Noyes said many of the winners end up donating the prize money to local non-profits such as the food pantry or the high school’s Upbeat program.
“It’s something to do together with your kids … it’s also an opportunity to do good in the town,” she said.