The 15th annual Scarecrow Festival will take place October 1-3 in Stevensville. This popular event started in 2006. It was a project of the Stevensville Art & Sculpture Society (SASS) whose president was Gary Knapp at the time. Knapp passed away in 2012 and SASS is also no longer in existence. However, Knapp’s wife Loey has worked to keep the Scarecrow Festival alive, and so has Gretchen Spiess, owner of River’s Mist Gallery. The two women are organizing the event this year, taking over from the now defunct Stevensville Main Street Association, which organized the Scarecrow Festival in 2019 as one of its last projects.
Loey Knapp recalls that there were no more than 10 scarecrows entered the first year. In 2019 there were 50 or more. The entries went all the way down the bike path to the Fort Owen Ranch entrance. Kids’ entries were displayed in the yard of the Stevensville Hotel and business entries were scattered along Main Street in front of businesses.
Gretchen said things will be organized similarly this year, with individuals’, families’ and organizations’ entries ($30 entry fee) along the bike path, business entries ($35 entry fee) on Main Street, and kids’ entries (8th grade and younger, $10 entry fee) on the Stevensville Hotel lawn. There will be a pumpkin carving contest in front of Active Care Chiropractic, complete with trophy awards.
Prizes for the best scarecrows will be awarded in the following categories:
People’s Choice 1st, 2nd, 3rd – everyone votes for Business, Kids, and Bike Path (9 total)
Most Artistic 1st, 2nd, 3rd – judges for that will look at all categories and pick three.
“This is a great opportunity for families and groups (book clubs, hiking groups, gamers, gardening groups),” said Loey. “This is just pure fun. This is not marketing, this is just for fun.”
“This is not Halloween, not gory,” said Gretchen. She also emphasizes the importance of art and creativity.
People can sign up on the website at www.stevensvillescarecrowfestival.splashthat.com. “We’ve gone high tech,” said Loey. “Everything you need is on the website. You can find the information, you can register and pay online. Or you can give a check to Gretchen, the old-fashioned way.” Gretchen can be reached at 360-6716.
The contest, with viewing and voting, will be October 1-2. The awards ceremony will be on Sunday, October 3rd at 3 p.m. at the beginning of the bike path near the memorial for Gary Knapp. Scarecrows will then stay up for a week on the bike path or longer downtown.
In 2019, the Main Street Association estimated that over 8000 people came to see the scarecrows.
Gretchen said that volunteers are needed, for things like showing people where their scarecrow goes (on Thursday and Friday), and especially on the two voting days, to help with many things such as handing out ballots, and counting the votes, for example.
Loey wants people to know that there is no admission fee, and there are free horse-drawn wagon rides. There will also be food trucks and the Scarecrow Brewfest on Saturday.
People are encouraged to submit their scarecrow entries as soon as possible, said Gretchen. “Get creative, forget the past year and do something fun, outside!”