NEWINGTON - Scarecrows: Come one, come all.
Newington Parks and Recreation is hosting its annual Scarecrow Contest for the second year in a row.
Creatures of all shapes and sizes (that fit within a six-by-six-foot square parcel) will be built this Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the Mortensen Community Center on Garfield Street. There they will stand (or sit, or pose) until Oct. 27.
Within that two-week period of time, visitors and employees of Newington Town Hall, the community center, Lucy Robbins Welles Library and Newington Police Department will glimpse them driving by. Special trips will be made by residents to the viewing site to determine favorites.
The contest is open to people of all ages, including individuals, families, community groups and businesses.
The top two winners of a Family/Friends/Individual category will receive respective $100 and $50 gift certificates to Newington Parks and Recreation programming.
The sole winner of a Business/Non-profit category will receive a business card advertisement valued at $250 in the department’s seasonal brochure, distributed to 13,000 households.
Voting is online at the Newington Parks and Recreation Facebook page. Only one vote is allowed per person.
Last year, 2,500 Facebook users voted on 23 different scarecrows. The winners were “Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead” by Zach Pierson and Emma Bartlett, along with “Woody and Toy Story” by the Marsh family. The Newington Transition Academy’s scarecrow earned the most votes in the competition, winning the Business/Non-Profit award.
A $5 entry fee for scarecrows goes towards the 2019 Life. Be in it. Extravaganza Fireworks Show.
Participants are asked to carefully consider their choice of building materials. Carved pumpkins and other produce are susceptible to rot, so pumpkins should be whole and un-punctured if they are used. All props should be firmly attached to the scarecrows, since they will remain outdoors for judging in rain, snow or shine.
Each scarecrow is identified by a handmade sign featuring its name and number. People setting up their creatures Saturday use designated poles provided by parks staff. Music, coffee and donuts will be served. Spectators are welcome.
Last year several elementary schools in town formed groups to create scarecrows representing their school communities. John Paterson’s creature was the school’s namesake himself, a local attorney in the 18th century. The scarecrow was complete with a “branches of government tree.”
The Newington police and volunteer fire departments also built their own scarecrows.
“We had an amazing turnout and expect it to be bigger and better this year,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Bill DeMaio said. “Just imagine Garfield Street lined with funny, creative, original scarecrows celebrating the fall season. This is going to be a real attraction again and a real comprehensive community event.”
Anticipating lots of excitement about the competition, Special Events Coordinator Joe Harvey is setting up a Facebook poll to simplify the voting process.
“This was a huge hit last year,” Harvey pointed out. “We’re hoping to get even more interest this year.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.