By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – The second annual Scarecrow Decorating Contest and Fall Festival will be held from noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 4 Elks Lodge 2194, 6605 Park between Philomene and White streets.
The event helps financially support the group’s Hoop Shoot Program for community youth.
“Last year we had 32 cleverly crafted scarecrows entered into the contest,” event volunteer Amy Knowles said, “along with 100 bales of hay and cornstalks tied to every lamp post down the street.”
Businesses, schools, groups and individuals are urged to enter. A $10 fee is due with each application; forms must be submitted by Sept. 28.
The prize is $200 for the best scarecrow, $100 for the voter’s choice and $50 for the most original. Winners will be announced at 6:30 p.m.
Scarecrows should be able to withstand wind and rain. A sturdy two-by-four post is recommended for the body, since each scarecrow will be attached to a light post for display.
The Elks, as the event sponsor, reserve the right to refuse entries. Applicants are encouraged to create positive, creative and nonviolent scarecrows free from political or religious themes.
Scarecrows must be brought to the lodge to be eligible for prizes; check-in is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 3.
Additional information can be found online at www.allenparkelks.com. Click on the “scarecrow” tab for more information.
Scarecrows may be left to decorate Park Avenue through Halloween.
The fall festival features a soup tasting from noon to 3 p.m. inside the lodge. The music lineup features a disc jockey from noon to 3 p.m., and the rockabilly band Kentucky Chrome from noon to 3 p.m.
Picnic tables will be provided to let families sit together and enjoy hot dogs, pop, cider, doughnuts and caramel apples. The Chamber of Commerce will hold an apple pie baking contest.
A dog fashion show and costume contest sponsored by Dr. Sue Cabadas will run from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. There also will be face painting for kids, and basketball activities.
The Hoop Shoot program, the beneficiary of the fundraiser, provides a fun, character-building program for girls and boys ages 8 to 13 that does not rely on previous athletic experience or ability. It allows kids to compete and interact with each other without the structure of parent- and coach-controlled events or the peer pressure of teammates. It emphasizes the importance of children developing individual skills.
“I’ve been the Hoop Shoot director for our lodge for the past eight years,” Knowles said. “It is a free throw basketball contest — free to kids in the community.”
The Elks also sponsor a drug awareness program that teaches kids about the dangers of drugs using literature they provide to parents and schools.
“We hold annual fundraisers of some sort, and last year we decided to entertain the community with a Scarecrow Decorating Contest,” Knowles said. “It’s grown this year to include several other fun contests for the whole family.”