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Sticks, straw and an assortment of old clothes line a short section of fence along Park Avenue in Empire. Some blow in the wind; others stand silently, watching the cars motor by. These materials …
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Sticks, straw and an assortment of old clothes line a short section of fence along Park Avenue in Empire. Some blow in the wind; others stand silently, watching the cars motor by.
These materials aren’t just random litter; they make up the arms, legs, heads and hats of scarecrows entered in Empire’s fourth annual Scarecrow Contest, which runs through Oct. 31.
Arranged on the fence like they’re waiting to leap upon passers-by, this ghoulish bunch runs strong on variety and creativity.
For instance, one entry embodies the “Other Mother” character from the movie “Coraline.” Adorned in black trash bags and a black rag mop of hair, the six-legged, white-faced creature stands out from the crowd, literally. Another came all the way from a second-grade class at Georgetown Community School. Overall, there’s a good mix of themes on the fence, with everything from aliens to a group of baby scarecrows.
“I think it has become a really cool town tradition,” says Wade Parlee, creator of the “Other Mother” scarecrow. “It gets people to slow down and look at what we have to offer. I missed the first year, but I’ve had entries every year since.”
He placed second last year with his “Politician on a Stick” entry and hopes to do well again this year.
All told, Parlee said it took about eight hours to build the “Other Mother.”
Rob Morris, owner of East Park Antiques, handles registration for the contest. In previous years, a few people tried to make religious and political statements, says Morris, so participants are required to register for screening purposes.
Most of the businesses in town are also doubling as polling places this week. Those who wish to vote for their favorite scarecrow can visit those businesses and cast their votes, which will be tallied up on Halloween day.
Contest organizer and Town Clerk Jennifer Cade says approximately 20 ballots have been cast so far, but she expects a rush as Halloween looms near. Since there are only 11 contestants, it looks to be a tight race.
The contest culminates in a Halloween party and pie-eating contest on Oct. 31. First-, second- and third-place prizes are awarded in the form of Empire Bucks in the amounts of $100, $50 and $25, respectively. Empire Bucks are a local currency that can be spent only at businesses in town.
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