Peabody will play host to a fall festival with a new twist in October. There will be a scarecrow festival with participants all over town, vendors, crafts, and sidewalk sales in the business district, a chili crawl at the HUB, and prizes for creativity and yearlong bragging rights.
Peggy Phillips attended a scarecrow festival in Ireland recently while visiting her daughter and grandchildren and thought the idea could be imported to Peabody.
“They have had this event in Ireland for a long time and the community is enthusiastic about participating,” Phillips said. “Some of the scarecrows we saw were huge and had a lot of detail. Some were smaller or more primitive, but it was a lot of fun.
“I thought it was an idea that could work here, so we will give it a try and see how it goes,” she added.
Any individual, family, group, club, or business in Peabody is invited to participate. The scarecrows will be judged and cash prizes of $50, $25, and $15 will awarded for first through third place.
“Scarecrows must be homemade,” Phillips said. “That is really the main rule for participating. Purchased scarecrows will not be judged.”
She said people are encouraged to use straw if possible.
“But we know people have issues with allergies or they might not have access to a small bale of straw,” she said. “So if they need to use newspapers, shopping bags, pantyhose, or whatever, we can live with it.”
When participants get their scarecrows stuffed and in place, a call to Phillips at (316) 258-7975 will get them registered. They will be assigned a number so the judges will know they are signed up for the competition. Judging takes place Oct. 17.
Phillips said her committee is hoping for good coverage on Walnut Street to the downtown area, but will be happy to have them in front of homes and businesses all over town.
“Peabody-Burns grade school classes are involved and we plan to ask people along Walnut who have empty properties or who might not be able to build a scarecrow to let students place their class entries in those yards,” Phillips said.
Phillips said they also would encourage people to leave their scarecrows in place until after Halloween.
Another facet of the event is a Chili Crawl from noon to 3 p.m. on Oct. 17 to benefit the HUB. People proud of their chili recipes should sign up at the HUB to bring in a cooker of chili. Those wanting to do tasting will purchase a tasting kit and sample what the cooks have to offer.
For a $5 fee, people can sign up to participate as a vendor with craft items, baked goods, garage sale merchandise, or other goods to sell. Walnut St. will be blocked off between 1st and 2nd Sts. and vendors can set up in the street or on a sidewalk.
Anyone planning to set up in front of a business should check with the business owner in advance. Vendor fee and registration must be paid to Phillips in advance so the committee will know how many to expect. Vendors should be prepared to be open for business at 9 a.m.
“We have done some things like this in the past, but it has been years since there was a promotion like this going on in the fall,” Phillips said. “We hope this will give people something to plan for during the year. We would like to do it again.”