EVERY YEAR IN FOREVER, my family has crossed the viaduct to Faribault’s east side to view the scarecrows at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. Autumn would not be autumn without this annual tour.
Years ago we loaded up the kids. Today it’s just me and my husband. But we still get the same kick out of seeing exactly what MSAD students, Faribault High School American Sign Language students, families and others have created for the October Scarecrow Fest.
This year, undoubtedly, has been my favorite with scarecrow scenes themed around Minnesota’s great outdoors. The displays are completely family-friendly—nothing scary or macabre or remotely frightening.
I suppose, though, that the sizes of the mosquitoes could frighten non-Minnesotans. But, shhhhhh, we’ll just let them think that our “state bird” grows as big as a bird and that we really do need Paul Bunyan-sized cans of OFF mosquito repellent.
And, yes, Paul Bunyan was depicted in two of the creations. Unfortunately, in one case, Babe the Blue Ox, Paul’s side-kick, had toppled in the wind. But my husband set him upright for a photo op before Babe tumbled back to earth—at the mercy of Paul’s axe, noted a little girl who was touring the fest grounds.
Then I had to add, in a garish Halloween comment, that Paul was making Babe into steak. So much for keeping this family-friendly…
Honestly, I had to admire the ingenuity of the contestants with gourds transformed into fish and mosquitoes, a loon with a sock head and a pumpkin painted red to represent the cherry on Spoonbridge and Cherry at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Unfortunately Split Rock Lighthouse had fallen by the time we arrived for our tour. Typically the weather takes a toll on this wind-swept campus.
But, for the most part, these exhibits need to be durable, durability being one of the criteria considered by judges evaluating the vignettes. They also look at use of materials, overall appearance and creativity.
I bet the judges had a tough time this year deciding who should win. The entries were that good. Of course, why wouldn’t they be? With an “Explore Minnesota” theme, competitors had a whole wide state of 10,000 lakes and loons and land to create a scarecrow scene of this place we Minnesotans love, despite our over-sized “state bird.”
FYI: You have only a few hours to view the scarecrows, if any remain on the MSAD campus. They will be gone by 3 p.m. today.
© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling