ST. CHARLES – Scarecrows adorn much of downtown St. Charles every October, but in earlier times, they usually stood post on farms.
Bidding to bind the 32nd annual Scarecrow Fest closer to its host city’s roots, the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau has unveiled the Greater St. Charles Farm Tour as part of the fest, which still will feature plenty of standbys when it runs from Oct. 6 to 8.
Historic Corron Farm, Garfield Farm Museum, Norton Farm and Produce, Primrose Farm and The Royal Lusitano each will offer supplemental family entertainment on top of active history lessons.
In conjunction with two other new offerings – a guided bike tour of St. Charles and a three-course, post-fest, farm-to-table dinner at The Finery & Blacksmith Bar on the evening of Oct. 8 – “we hope these will be time-honored events over time,” said Vikki Myers, community relations manager for the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Considering the staying power of several longstanding Scarecrow Fest attractions, organizers figure there’s a good chance for some figurative fresh air to make a lasting impression, too. Farm tour fees vary by location. To register, log on to www.scarecrowfest.com/farm-tour.
Myers credited the efforts and energy of “dynamo” bureau executive director Lula Cassidy, who is hoping to heighten natives’ esteem in the city nicknamed “The Pride of the Fox” as thousands of festivalgoers from other locales mingle alongside.
“It’s family-style fun, tradition, memory building, and it’s also, of course, a wonderful opportunity for us to welcome visitors to our city. … We’re a close-knit community and are just looking forward to making the fest that piece of warmth and hospitality that they deserve when they come to our doors,” Myers said.
The centerpiece remains Lincoln Park, which again is set to display 100-plus scarecrow contest entries representing several themes and categories.
While characters from movies and popular culture traditionally factor prominently into scarecrow designs, St. Charles and regional business representatives often channel something showcasing their organization’s reason for being.
Whether it’s a fitness company’s scarecrow working out, a medical center’s scarecrow in scrubs or something completely different, it’s art for attendees to behold.
“It’s just unique,” Myers said. “They’re these eclectic, unique, funky kind of creations that people just love to come and take in. … They use that very precise math and science engineering kind of brain, but it comes together in this really beautiful and soulful creation.”
The event sprinkles numerous other activities throughout downtown St. Charles, including live music, food booths, a carnival and a 170-vendor arts and crafts show at Pottawatomie Park on the banks of the Fox River.
“Those are the things that make the long-lasting memories, and they’re certainly some of the signature events and hallmarks of the fest that will be back again and again,” Myers said.
Other returning points of interest include performances from bubble aficionado Glowby the Bubbler and a classic car display from Baltria Vintage Auto Gallery in St. Charles.
With every attraction accounted for, Myers said Scarecrow Fest sufficiently honors a bureau tagline: “See it. Do it. Live it.”
“We want to offer lots of opportunities, experiences for these visitors who are coming into the event, to the fest, to really get immersed in the culture, the color, the scenery of what makes the St. Charles community so special,” Myers said.
If you go
What: 32nd annual Scarecrow Fest
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8
Where: Various locations in downtown St. Charles
More info: http://scarecrowfest.com