Students from Meaford Community School had a break from the books Wednesday so they could head for the harbour to help build scarecrows.
With 250 scarecrows to build in preparation for the 16th annual Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival which takes place September 28, Head Scarecrow Marilyn Morris told The Independent that the help of the students is greatly appreciated.
“Today they are aiming to make 1,000 arm sections. And they just accept the challenge!” beamed Morris as the grades four through six students busied themselves filling plastic bags with newspaper stuffing to create the arms which will be used for the scarecrows which go in display in September throughout the municipality.
Preparing those scarecrows is no easy task and requires the contribution of hundreds of members of the community.
“We do 250 scarecrows. So in order to make them we have to make 250 heads, 500 body cavities, and we have to do 2,000 arm and leg sections,” explained Morris.
Newsprint for stuffing the scarecrows is donated by the Meaford Express, the clothing comes from the Midas Mart which is operated by the local Kiwanis Club, and rubber garden hose for the arm structures in contributed by numerous donors within the community.
Members of the community are so supportive of the annual festival that Morris says she often arrives home to find rolls of used garden hose on her doorstep for use in building the scarecrows.
The students too enjoy helping with building the scarecrows. MCS student Alex Whaley told The Independent that he enjoys taking in the festival each year, and will be extra proud this year in knowing that he helped create the scarecrows which will be hanging from lamp posts and bridges around town. Scarecrows aside, there are other reasons he enjoys the festival.
“I like the music,” offered Whaley as he stuffed newsprint into plastic bags to create yet another arm, “It is fun, and my brother and sister have fun at the Scarecrow Festival too.”
After the enthusiasm exhibited from last year's nursery rhyme theme, the theme of this year's festival is “Scarecrows Love Fairy Tales,” and Morris says she is looking forward to seeing the displays that local businesses and residents create in support of that theme.
“The business competition saw such a spike in the interest to do their windows because of the themes which started with the Wizard of Oz theme a few years ago,” said Morris.
Morris said that having a new theme each year also helps keep the long-running festival fresh.
“There are certain things that have to stay the same, but the parade changes each year, the theme changes each year, so that keeps it fresh. But I think the other thing that keeps it fresh is the imagination of people. The community gets so involved in it, and it is their imagination that creates the freshness,” offered Morris.
Morris is also hoping for some help from mother nature this year after the cold and rainy conditions endured during last year's festival.
“We've put Mother Nature on the executive,” said Morris with a laugh, “She is going to make it work this year.”
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