More than 200 businesses and classrooms across the Valley are participating in the annual Scarecrow Fest kicking off Friday, Oct. 10.
Businesses take part by creating fun or scary scarecrows in front of their establishments, and letting the public vote of their favorites. Each city and town has its own variation of the family favorite annual contest, and each will designate an overall winner to compete in the 2014 Harvest Cup.
It's the fifth year for Solvang's Scarecrow Fest and locals, tourists and merchants are all invited to vote on categories including Best Use of a Business Theme, Spookiest and Most Humorous. Ballots will be available at the Solvang Visitors Center and at several businesses. More than 100 merchants are expected to take part and for the first time, home owners are invited to participate as well.
The Buellton Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau is sponsoring the second Buellton Scarecrow Fest. Maps pinpointing more than 40 scarecrow locations along with ballots and ballots boxes will be available at the Visitors Center. Best Use of Natural Materials is one of Buellton's categories. Buellton is the 2013 Harvest Cup champ.
The Los Olivos Business Organization has lined up approximately 40 businesses to get their scarecrow on. Best Traditional and Best Los Olivos Scarecrow are two of their categories. Ballots are available at participating businesses and at www.losolivosca.com.
The Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and the Santa Ynez Chamber have come up with a unique concept for Scarecrow Fest. Movie-themed scarecrows created by classrooms throughout the Valley and sponsored by local businesses, will come to "live" at the Museum starting Oct. 20. They'll be available for purchase via a silent auction with the classroom taking home the proceeds. Local merchants will also be posting their own Scare-lebrity scarecrows in front of their businesses throughout the town.
Tiny Ballard didn't want to be left out of the scarecrow action. The Valley's oldest village will be participating as an adjunct to Solvang's competition.
Los Alamos has put its own twist on Scarecrow Fest. Its "Birds in Los Alamos" theme has businesses playing host to "scared crows" fleeing from the Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Ballard scarecrows. The C Gallery is also hosting a pop up art show, "All Kinds of Black Birds," with an opening reception of Oct. 18.