Welcoming fall with scarecrows

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Straw men will be taking over Olde Town Arvada once again for the 17th annual Festival of Scarecrows.
The free event will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, and include not only a variety of festively decorated scarecrows, but more than 40 community booths and activities for all ages.
“The festival was originally started by merchants in olde town, and we joined a few years later,” said Judith Denham, a member of the Arvada Festivals Commission. “We love festivals and have been working with the merchants every year since.”
Denham said the fall event has grown every year, with around 1,500 to 2,000 people taking part in last year’s festival. The event is put on by the Festivals Commission, Olde Town Arvada and the Arvada Gardeners.
As the name implies, the festival is all about the scarecrows. Businesses, individuals and other organizations can enter a decorated scarecrow into the contest with a $20 entry fee and completed application.
“We have seen scarecrows dressed up in all sorts of things,” Denham said. “We have judges who award prizes in a variety of different categories, and it’s always great to see what people come up with.”
The scarecrows aren’t the only contest going on at the festival. There is a decorated pumpkin (no carving) contest that people can enter for free, just with a completed application.
“We have four new activities this year, in addition to favorites like the children’s costume parade, hayrides and children’s maze,” Denham said.
The four new activities are a pumpkin pie eating contest, with three age categories and prizes for winners; a gunny sack and three-legged race with three age categories; a pumpkin seed spitting contest with three age categories and prizes; and a pumpkin dish (no pies) cooking contest.
The festival is one of the biggest signs that fall has come to Arvada, and celebrating that is what the festival is all about.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to go out with your family in the fall and do something fun and free,” said Wendy Forbes, communications manager with Arvada. “It’s not your typical fall festival — there are all these different ways for the community to get involved, and there is really something for everyone.”
For more information, including applications for the scarecrow or pumpkin decorating contests, visit www.historicalarvada.org, call 303-420-6100 or visit www.arvadafestivals.com.