The scarecrows are coming! Stanford holiday festival set for Saturday

Special to the News-Argus

Outside of Hannah Mikeson’s shop on First Street last year was this welcoming scarecrow sight: “Rake-ku - It’s the New Do!”

Rose Schindler created this iconic “Witch of Oz” for last year’s scarecrow festival. The scarecrow greeted folks heading into City Hall via the front door.

Photos by Vicky McCray

Beware! The scarecrows are coming to Stanford early this year. They are set to arrive on Saturday, Oct. 8. That’s just a short few days away.
And they aren’t coming alone: They bring with them a festival of fun, including the fifth annual chili cook-off, a craft show, the Scare the Crow “Outta” Cancer Fun Run/Walk and the Judith Basin Chamber’s Pumpkin Paint, Carve and Chuck.
Sponsored by the Stanford Beautification Project, Inc., the first Garden Scarecrow Festival was held in 2007 to rave reviews. It has since offered businesses and individuals (from anywhere) a chance to show their creative sides, while at the same time earning prize monies and helping to add interest to Stanford’s Central Avenue.
Folks are asked to create memorable scarecrow characters to greet visitors to Stanford. The fun involves very few rules, although each creation must be named and registered with the sponsor by the Friday preceding the Saturday judging. The designer’s name needs also to be included in the registration.
Scarecrows have “squatter’s rights,” which include the area of Central Avenue from the county courthouse to the post office. Creators can lay claim to street poles, benches, downtown park areas, storefronts, flowerpots, trees, roofs or wherever their imaginations and ingenuity take them.
The characters must be fastened securely, as they will remain outdoors for about three weeks and are apt to undergo a wide variety of weather. As all Montanans know, wind will certainly be a part of the three-week forecast at one time or another.
All scarecrows must be in place by 10 a.m. on Oct. 8 so judging can get underway first thing.
Prize money is awarded to first, second, third, fourth and fifth places, as well as to People’s Choice.
People’s Choice voting takes place under the awning at the Basin Trading Post. It is frequently extended into the week following the judging so that more people have a chance to have their say.
This year scarecrow organizer Tess Brady has made a proposal to the Stanford School in hopes of enticing the students to get involved in the scarecrow creativity. If the school comes up with at least five scarecrows, Brady will supply $100 for a first-place prize for school entries. Someone from the school will make the determination.

Chili Cook-off
The Town of Stanford and the Stanford Beautification Street Committee sponsor the Fifth Annual Chili Cook-off on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All proceeds go to the Street Committee.
Everyone is encouraged to participate and all types of chili are permissible. They must, however, be original and made from scratch. In the past few years the varieties have been amazing, with chili ingredients as odd as sweet potatoes, huckleberries and apples and Spam and Portuguese sausage.
Entry forms are available at Stockman Bank or by contacting Janine Merrill at 366-5881 or at Entries will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 7.
The contest is held at Stanford City Hall and offers cash and trophy prizes for first, second and third places, as well as People’s Choice.
The recipe must be prepared and ready to eat upon arrival at Stanford City Hall, which should be 10:45 a.m. All competitors are required to prepare one crockpot of chili per entry. They are welcome to bring condiments and garnishments to serve with their chili, but the judges will only taste the chili.

Scarecrow Craft Show
Sandy Fournier is in charge of the annual Scarecrow Craft Show. She already has 16 vendors for the show. Among these are some out-of-towners and some townees. The man from Billings who crafts birdhouses from old license plates is returning and so is local woodworker Gail Ledbetter and her vintage creations, and bookseller Sue Caldwell with her Usborne Books. In addition there will be jams and jellies, candles, jewelry and Pampered Chef items.
These represent about half of what the early-bird Christmas shopper will be able to find. One can usually look forward to some fall decoration ideas as well. The show will open at 10 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. at City Hall.

Scare the Crow “Outta” Cancer Fun Run/Walk
The Judith Basin FIT Club sponsors this outdoor event, a 3-mile or 1-mile fun run/walk. This activity gets underway at 9 a.m. the day of the festival. Runners and walkers are asked to meet at the bank, from where the race will begin. Prizes are given to the participants who manage to find pink bras along their way and are brave enough to wear them across the finish line.
Registration forms are available online at
All proceeds will support the fight against breast cancer.

Pumpkin Paint,
Carve and Chuck
The Judith Basin Chamber provides fun for everyone with their Pumpkin Paint, Carve and Chuck the morning of Oct. 8. Things get messy beginning at 10 a.m. and running to noon in front of the Waterhole Emporium Room and the Wolves Den on Stanford’s Central Avenue.
The Chamber supplies the pumpkins and the paint and partakers provide the brushes, tools and talent. Be the first to toss a pumpkin into a tower of tires. The chucking part of the activity allows participants as many chucks as they like for as long as the pumpkins last.
Bring a can of food for the Judith Basin Food Pantry as a participation donation.
Enjoy fall festivities on Saturday, Oct. 8 in Stanford.


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