by Steve Guntli
Blaine’s annual scarecrow competition has traditionally been a way for local businesses to add a festive autumnal air to the downtown business district. This year, though, Blaine residents can get in on the fun.
Not only will residents be able to decorate their homes for the contest, but they are also in charge of voting for the winners. In the past, the submissions were judged by a special committee, but this year the voting will be done online on the Blaine Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Now entering its eighth year, the scarecrow contest has become a local favorite and a chance for people to show their creative side. It’s even become a bit of a tourist attraction, prompting Solomon to print up maps for visitors to take self-guided scarecrow tours.
“We were really surprised, because we weren’t planning it for that,” Solomon said. “But people were really interested in seeing all the scarecrows.”
Many entrants in the past have chosen to tailor their display to reflect their business. Solomon remembers a favorite of hers from a few years back, from the Good Samaritan Society-Stafholt.
“They’d dressed their scarecrows up like elderly people, with canes and wheelchairs, and put them in old Icelandic clothing,” she said. “It was really cute.”
Van Wingerden Greenhouses will offer introductory scarecrow starter kits for $29.99, which include a half-bale of straw, five cornstalks, a 6-inch mum and 10 pounds of pumpkin. The kits can act as good starting points, but Solomon said the displays don’t even need to be scarecrows, as long as they’re in line with the autumn theme and show creativity.
Anyone interested in participating should contact the Visitor’s Information Center in Blaine to register their scarecrow so they can appear on the tourist map. Displays should be set up by Saturday, October 11, and stay up until Saturday, November 1. Judging will take place the first weekend of the contest. Solomon couldn’t be certain when the winners would be announced, since this is the chamber’s first year using the online voting system, but she estimates it will be within two or three days.
The prize for best business display is one free advertisement in The Northern Light. The chamber has yet to determine the prize for best residential display.
For more information, visit blainechamber.com or call the Blaine Visitor’s Information Center at 332-6484.