ST. CHARLES – The annual Scarecrow Fest set to take place Oct. 9-11 in downtown St. Charles will be scaled back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every year, thousands of visitors flock to Lincoln Park in downtown St. Charles to view the scarecrow entries on display. But because of the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, this year's festival will take on a different look and feel.
"We will focus on the individual businesses and encourage visitors to patronize restaurants and shops by placing scarecrows in or outside of downtown businesses, and by marketing their Scarecrow Fest themed menus, promotions, and mini-events," Jenna Sawicki, executive director of the St. Charles Business Alliance, said in a presentation to aldermen on the St. Charles City Council's Government Operations Committee.
The area is in phase four of Gov. JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan. As part of the plan, gatherings of no more than 50 people are allowed, with the limit subject to change based on latest data and guidance.
The St. Charles Business Alliance organizes the festival. As part of this year's Scarecrow Stroll, the scarecrows that are entered by families, businesses and organizations will be placed in front of or inside businesses, in front of the Municipal Building and on the Riverwalk if there is overflow. A giant scarecrow will be placed in front of the Municipal Building as a focal point, Sawicki said.
The event will also feature music live streamed from local businesses and a possible drive in concert, similar to what the St. Charles Park District is doing. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. Charles Park District's annual summer concert series at Lincoln Park has been replaced by a drive in concert series that recently kicked off at the James O. Breen Community Park.
Scarecrow Fest will also feature take home crafts for children to be picked up at the Lincoln Park information booth, a possible community art project and a scavenger hunt.