Scarecrow Fest will move to 4-H Fairgrounds for bigger event

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 29 August 2021 at 8:38 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Medina Lions who helped moved props for their annual Scarecrow Fest from Forrestel Farm to the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds on Saturday are, from left, Dean Bellack, Sherry Wheatley, Tom Beach, Jim Punch and Howie Gardner.

KNOWLESVILLE – The Medina Lions Club’s annual Scarecrow Fest will celebrate its 10th year with a new location and a lot of new features.

Scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 9, the Scarecrow Fest will be moved to the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds this year, which gives the Lions a lot more opportunity for new features and events, said Sherry Wheatley.

During its nine-year history, the Scarecrow Fest has taken place in Medina’s canal basin, Robert’s Farm Market, the YMCA and lastly, at Forrestel Farm.

After learning that Forrestel Farm was sold and the riding camp closed, the Lions had to find a new location.

Sherry Wheatley and Tom Beach, members of Medina Lions Club, carry out T stakes from Forrestel Farm’s barn, where they have been stored since last year’s Scarecrow Fest. The Scarecrow Fest on Oct. 9 will be moved to the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds this year.

The fairgrounds was a perfect solution, Wheatley said.

“This opens up new doors for us,” she said, dragging a giant stuffed scarecrow out of her truck on Saturday.

Wheatley and Lions Dean Bellack, Tom Beach, Jim Punch and Howie Gardner met at Forrestel on Saturday morning to move their props out of the barn where they had been stored since last year. This included 300 T-stakes which are used for bodies of the scarecrows.

The Scarecrow Fest was an idea pitched to Medina Lions nine years ago by Wheatley, who has headed the event ever since. This includes annually scouring local thrift shops, especially the MAAC Thift Shop, for donations of clothes, ties, belts, scarves, hats and purses, as well as sheets.

The Scarecrow Fest has become a community event, Wheatley said.

First, Wheatley’s mother Pauline Lanning cuts 300 heads for scarecrows out of sheets and sews them up. Then they were transported to Medina High School, where the Art Department paints faces on the heads.

Iroquois Job Corps has stepped up to have their Carpentry Class cut T-posts out of donated plywood for the standing or sitting scarecrow bodies, and Albion dairy farmer Ed Neal donates bales of straw to stuff the scarecrows.

“Without the help of everybody, there is no way we could have done this,” Wheatley said.

She also said Craig Lacy did them a big favor by allowing them to store bags of clothing in the basement of his former NAPA store on North Main Street in Medina.

“Now that we’ve moved our event to the fairgrounds, we have a lot more space for events,” Wheatley said. “My goal is to have at least 300 scarecrows, maybe 350.”

For the first time, the Scarecrow Fest will feature an indoor flea market and craft show, all under cover in the barns.

“If it rains, we will be inside,” Wheatley said.

The Boy Scouts will be selling homemade corn chowder, chili, smores, hot dogs, hamburgers and pop. Chiavetta’s will have a drive-thru chicken barbecue. The Boy Scouts will also be doing camping demonstrations and the Conservation Club will have the Log Cabin open.

Jim Punch ties down a load of T stakes which he helped Medina Lions move from Forrestel Farm to the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds on Saturday. The stakes are used for bodies of scarecrows at the Scarecrow Fest, which will take place Oct. 9 at the fairgrounds.

4-H Clubs will have a big role in having demonstrations, Wheatley said. She is talking with the horse clubs to have them give rides to children during the event.

Another new event prompted by the location on the fairgrounds is a kids’ pedal tractor ride through a straw maze.

Wheatley said she has access to four barns to use for the event, and encourages everyone to consider renting a space for the flea market.

“It’s the end of summer and everybody wants to get rid of unwanted items,” she said.

A 25’ x 25’ space costs only $25 and vendors can have their vehicle parked next to their booth. A space can be rented by calling Wheatley at (585) 735-5135.

There will be plenty of parking available.

“This is a win-win situation,” Wheatley said.

She stressed all money earned by the Lions goes back into the community.

The Scarecrow Fest is a lot of fun for a $10 donation, Wheatley said. There is no age limit to come and build a scarecrow. Participants pay their fee, then walk down rows to pick out their clothing and accessories.

They next go to the straw pile and stuff their scarecrow. Lastly, they take them to the “operating table,” where “surgeons,” otherwise known as Lions Club members, will tie off the ends of the legs with baler twine and make suspenders to hold the scarecrows together.

No two scarecrows look alike, Wheatley said.

Chicken barbecue tickets can be ordered on the Medina Lions Facebook page, from any Lions member or at Filomena’s on South Gravel Road, the Bank of Castile on South Main Street or Revival Beauty Parlor on Main Street.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Students in Medina High School art classes painted the faces on the scarecrow heads in this photo from Oct. 13, 2019. Iroquois Job Corps students made the stakes for the bodies. The scarecrow fest will be moving to the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds on Oct. 9.