The first reminder that the Scarecrow Fest is upon us came when there was a spotting of Jeff Hunt waving his arms as if to wave away a bunch of birds. It turns out that the talented and dedicated director of the St. Charles Singers was merely rehearsing himself for the next of so many rehearsals of their upcoming concert. (Forgive me, Jeff, I needed a lead.)
We are so fortunate to live in this valley where the hills are continuously alive with the sound of music. The St. Charles Singers are among the most acclaimed and will soon present “Mozart V: Magnificent Mozart.” Look for their local performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 at the Baker Memorial Church in St. Charles.
To add to the cultural delight, a Wheaton college professor, Dr. Jonathan Sayer, will lecture one hour before the choral music begins.
Meanwhile, back to those other scarecrows. To begin, stop the rain dances. Think sunshine. Probably you know that the use of fearsome representations to deter pesky birds from crops is a pretty old tradition.
There are reports from the Eighth Century of “kakashi” figures in pre-feudal Japan, presenting both a menacing and smelly guardian for the rice fields.
The classical Greeks, of course, used marble figures with perhaps scowling faces in the more sophisticated approach to bird control. Our civilization used chemical pest control and pretty much missed the ecological mark.
We did come up with the endearing figure of Ray Bolger who brought Dorothy’s scarecrow buddy to join her as they went off to see the Wizard.
Scarecrows have become a symbol of the fall season and harvest although these stuffed creatures probably are needed just as much in the Spring to guard the newly planted seeds.
On your next trip out to see Dexter Norton at their farmstand west of St. Charles, visitors will find pumpkins and apples now, and a wonderful play area for kids as well as a wealth of information about our rural heritage.
Scarecrows take their posts in downtown St. Charles on Friday, October 5.
Despite the growing popularity as a regional family festival there are many chances to be in touch with local traditions and local vendors.
For example, take the trail behind City Hall to visit the Freedom Walk exhibits. Look for Ekwabet, the statue representing our Native American predecessors and perhaps give a thought to that iconic rendering of “Injun Summer” that the Chicago Tribune customarily offered at this time of year.
As the sad extension of tales we tell our young people, stop and talk to the volunteers from the Juvenile Drug Court. They have some delightful raffle items such as hand painted mailboxes and other crafts and, usually, some tasty treats.
By the way, much deserving of treats, a big thanks to the pediatric unit staff at Delnor who have been taking care of Granddaughter Olivia all week.
She is getting better now and hopes to join her twin sister, Leia, to celebrate their third birthday on Sunday, and then hit the streets next week for their favorite festival.
Then, get ready for that incessant cry of “trick or treat” as we, so soon, experience October.
Oh, sorry – tricks and treats end in November. It’s called the Election.