Though apple picking, leaf peeping, and pumpkin spice in everything define the autumn season for many in the North Carolina mountains, scarecrows are a notable symbol of farms and the fall harvest in Buncombe County.

The annual Scarecrow Festival returns to Lake Julian Park in Oct. 23–Nov. 1. Buncombe County residents are invited to construct scarecrows as an individual, family, group, school, business, club, or organization. There is no cost to enter.

Entries will be judged on originality/creativity, design, and workmanship. First, second, and third place winners will be announced in the categories of Traditional, Recycle and Reduce, and Funny. Prizes will be awarded for Judges’ Best of Show and People’s Choice. All entries will receive one vehicle admission to Festival of Lights, the immensely popular nocturnal display of winter scenes that has become a mountain tradition.

“In the recent past, we’ve celebrated the changing color of the leaves at Lake Julian with thousands of kids and families at Fall Festival on a Saturday in October,” says Peyton O’Conner, Director of Buncombe County Recreation Services. “While we've also got Fall-O-Ween planned for Oct. 29, the Scarecrow Festival will allow families to explore the park at their own pace and on their own schedule while observing COVID-19 safety guidelines such as wearing a mask and keeping at least six feet of distance between them and others who don’t live in their house.”


Contest Rules

Registration ends on Oct. 19, 2020.
All entries must be fully assembled and on site at Lake Julian Park no later than noon on Oct. 23, 2020. Participants are also welcome to construct or drop off entries between 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Oct. 21-22, 2020. Information for checking in will be mailed following registration.
Scarecrows can be collected any time after 9 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2020.

All entries will be displayed outdoors and must be able to withstand the elements.
All decorations must be securely attached.
Entries must be free standing or have their own support system.
All scarecrows must be no larger than 7 feet tall as measured in place from the ground to the highest point of the entry and no wider than 4 feet.
Participant name and title of scarecrow must be displayed on a waterproof sign with entry for voting purposes for People’s Choice.

Please keep in mind this is a family-friendly event. Political or controversial statements, hate speech, and adult content are not permitted. Buncombe County reserves the right to deny any entry.
No electricity will be available for the displays.
No items such as tiki torches, gas-powered generators, or any other flammable objects are allowed to be any part of an entry.
Human scarecrows or mechanical scarecrows facilitated by a human are not allowed.
Buncombe County is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged personal items associated with the scarecrow while on display.

Judges will select a Best of Show winner and first, second, and third place winners in three categories:Traditional: Utilize old cloth, straw, and natural supplies to pay homage to scarecrows that have been “scaring crows” from farmers’ fields and gardens for centuries.
Recycle and Reduce: Create a scarecrow from recyclable and reusable items – such as old milk jugs, flour pots, gourds, soccer balls, wood, etc. – to highlight our community’s commitment to a sustainable future.
Funny: Humor is a great way to stand out! Use facial expression, materials, costume, and more to your advantage.
For the People’s Choice Award, voting will take place online from Oct. 23-28, 2020.

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