Emily Woodard, left, and Leela Cromwell, 9, both of Bowling Green, put a Harry Potter head on top of their scarecrow during a scarecrow workshop at the Wood County Historical Center in Bowling Green.
BOWLING GREEN — Perched on the front lawn of the Wood County Historical Center was a Harry Potter scarecrow, a Girl Scout scarecrow, a jailbird, a weightlifter — you name it, there was a scarecrow to match.
Whether any of the straw-filled characters actually will keep crows out of the garden wasn’t the point. Jim Witter, a program naturalist with the Wood County Park District, said the real goal was to get children and families outdoors, enjoying nature together.
“Scarecrows are kind of an agricultural pastime,” he said. “We enjoy making them maybe not so much for actually scaring away birds, but more for the festivity, the friendship, and a good fall feeling.”
The park district's annual scarecrow contest is set for 5 p.m. Saturday as part of the Halloween Folklore & Funfest, a free family event that runs from 4 to 9 p.m. at the historical center, 13660 County Home Rd. In addition to the scarecrow contest, there will be wagon rides, museum tours, cider pressing, and games.
At a scarecrow-making workshop at the historical center last week, 12-year-old Hope Burkin of Perrysburg was carefully stuffing a bright yellow Perrysburg Recreation T-shirt and a pair of black leggings. She was making a Yellow Jacket scarecrow complete with a wig-clad jack-o’-lantern for a head.
“I like the earrings,” Hope said, referring to the long strand of beads dangling from the pumpkin head.
Nearby, her twin siblings, Clara and Isaac, were creating scarecrows of their own. Their father, Donny Burkin, said it was his family's first time to try their hands at scarecrow-making, though they frequently take part in park district activities.
Rob and Amanda Gamby of Bowling Green brought their 2-year-old daughter Emma out to help them put together a scarecrow they dubbed “Scare D. Cat,” though with its flowery straw hat and friendly whiskered smile, it wasn’t especially scary.
Cygnet, Ohio residents Bella Byram, 8, and Bryan Byram, 11, build a scarecrow.
Ten-year-old Kylee Douglas of Weston was putting the final touches on a scarecrow she named “Mr. Georgesun Royal Oak,” a name she admits she got from “a Web site of weird names.” She and her grandmother, Pam Douglas of Portage, have been entering the contest for several years and last year took first prize.
Mr. Royal Oak had a burlap face, blood-shot eyeballs, a heart for a nose, and a well-stuffed shirt and bib overalls. Patches with butterflies and spiders — Kylee’s favorites — were sewn on.
Their scarecrow was given a basket of real, hollowed-out chicken eggs to carry. Various props completed the fall scene: a chicken, an owl, some black crows, and a basket with gourds and field corn.
“We do something different every year,” Kylee said, surveying her scarecrow.
“Last year, I won $100.”
Contact Jennifer Feehan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6129.