It is once again time for the Peachland Scarecrow Festival!
A scarecrow is a decoy or mannequin placed in fields to scare birds away and protect crops. Often, scarecrows are created in human form. Burlap sacks are stuffed with straw, dressed in old clothes and staked to the ground by farmers. Currently in Peachland, scarecrows are given faces, and themes, and adorn businesses and “protect” the town.
Scarecrows make common (and simple) Halloween costumes and show up in popular fiction in creatures that range from deities (Japan), to supervillains (DC Comics), to the creation of witches in league with the devil (Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Feathertop”). Perhaps the best known scarecrow, however, appears in L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” as he searches for the brains of the Wizard. My personal favourite scarecrow, however, appears in an episode of the tv drama, Supernatural, and it scared the crap outa me.
In real life, scarecrows become less effective the longer they remain in a field, since animals become accustomed to them, and adapt. Nowadays, many locations have taken up the tradition of holding annual scarecrow festivals. In Peachland, the idea originated with former town councillor (and member of the visitor promotion committee), Kerbes, who got the idea after visiting Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Kerbes hoped to draw tourist traffic to Peachland during the Fall and Winter off-season. Since this is now the third year for the festival, he just may have succeeded.
The festival runs from September 29th – October 31st, and scarecrows can be found all over the town of Peachland.