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Scarecrow Festival allows people to channel creativity, even humor

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The Budge family of Medford work on stuffing and building a scarecrow Saturday at Historic Hanley Farm. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families work Saturday on stuffing and building a scarecrow at Hanley Farm. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Event at Hanley Farm continues today

There wasn’t a crow in sight Saturday at Hanley Farm in Central Point, but perhaps that was because of a small army of hand-made scarecrows standing sentinel around and within the historic Rogue Valley property.

The Southern Oregon Historical Society continues hosting its 10th Annual Scarecrow Festival at Historic Hanley Farm, 1053 Hanley Road, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. You’ll find straw-filled scarecrow kits for $15 and “hanger scarecrow” kits for $10.

Some of the homemade scarecrows were lovely and warm like a mug of mulled apple cider. Others appeared scary and quite capable of protecting the farm.

Many simply looked like they were the end result of a craft session: fun and unique creations by individuals and families. Society members laid out donated clothes from St. Vincent de Paul Hospice Boutique for the scarecrows to wear.

A family surrounding one of the many craft tables was creating a pirate scarecrow with a scarlet red headscarf that Jack Sparrow himself might have worn. Its smile looked as if the pirate only drank a bottle or two of rum.

After deciding how to tie on the scarf in a way that looked most pirate-like, they moved on to placing pants on the scarecrow. It was already wearing a fancy, flouncy shirt and another red scarf around its neck. White jeans beneath a pair of purple sweatpants looked like banded pirate bottoms.

George Nicholas, 9, of Ashland, asked that the scarecrow be dressed as a pirate.

His parents, Jihan and Dan Nicholas, were putting a great deal of effort and imagination into their scarecrow.

Work on the scarecrow, said George, was simply “going fine.”

After this project was complete the plan was to visit a family friend back in Ashland making apple cider, Dan said.

“I’m doing this for my sister,” said Carol Cranan, of Medford, as she fitted clothing onto the wood frame that holds the head and attire used to make a scarecrow look like a human.

This scarecrow’s face resembled a cheerful Raggedy Andy doll but didn’t have the signature red hair. It wore a gray hoodie and khaki pants, which made it look a little bit tough. Or just chilly.

They usually do such craft projects together, but Cranan was working solo Saturday because her sister is attending a school reunion. The hoodie she picked out had “Jacksonville” printed on it, though it was referring to the location in Florida, not the elementary school where her sister and other classmates were marking 50 years since moving on from that point of their childhoods.

Another family decided on modeling their scarecrow to look like a California surfer with a red and black Baja hoodie and a face with eyes bloodshot from, perhaps, a day surfing in salty ocean water.

“It’s our first time here,” said Jolie Dionisio, who was with Justin, her husband, and daughters Annie, 10 and Avi, 15, who had her smartphone out, ready to capture a few pictures.

The family recently moved to Jacksonville from Long Beach, California, and all of them are very clear-eyed.

“We’re really liking it here,” Jolie said as she and Justin added length and more straw to their scarecrow’s legs. Eventually, they were able to pull the hood over the scarecrow’s head. It looked a little scary, but only as if it had been out all night partying with the pirate scarecrow.

Alice Mullaly, the festival’s co-director, said scarecrows have been used for centuries as a way for farmers to protect their crops from hungry birds.

And the society’s event is fall-oriented so “we don’t do much scary stuff,” she said.

Last year, the society only sold scarecrow kits that allowed people to make these human stand-ins at home because of the pandemic.

This year marked the return of tables around the farm so people could create their scarecrows there — as long as they wore face masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19. There were games and activities for children and families to enjoy for free.

Scarecrows not taken home could be entered into a People’s Choice contest with the results to be announced Sunday afternoon. Contest award winners will be featured on the SOHS website and social media pages.

See sohs.org, email at info@sohs.org, or call 541-773-6536 for more details.

Families and friends stuff and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuff and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuff and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuff and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuff and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuff and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuff and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuff and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuf and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Families and friends stuf and build scarecrows at Hanley Farm Saturday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune