Scarecrow contest in full swing on McDonough Square

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

They’re back, and they’re everywhere!

Scores of scarecrows are lining the streets of the Square during the month of October, for a contest sponsored by the Greater McDonough Merchants Association and Main Street McDonough Program.

Encompass in McDonough pays tribute to healthcare professionals with their scarecrow entry. Photo by Nick Vassy

Secret Garden owner Joan Wheat is the chairperson for the contest, which is in its third straight year. She says the scarecrow creations of local residents and business owners have already begun to turn heads on the Square.

“We wanted something that was a fun family event that had no cost with it,” she says. “We do have some awesome ones this year. It’s unbelievable.”

Wheat says interest in the contest has grown considerably over the last three years.

“The first year, we started off with 67 scarecrows,” she says. “The next year, there was so much interest in it that we had 116. This year, we have 144 entries.”

Voting in the contest will continue until Oct. 18. Judges will select one entry for a “best of show” award worth $500.

Entrants in the contest are vying for cash and prizes in four categories – families, schools, nonprofits and businesses. Prizes in each category are $200 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place.

The public can also vote on entries for “People’s Choice” awards for $400, for both businesses and non-businesses during the contest. The business with the winning People’s Choice scarecrow will also earn advertising in The Henry County Times and the Shopper magazine.

Winners will be announced on Oct. 24 at the Main Street Fall Festival, and the scarecrows will remain on the Square until Oct. 31.

The scarecrows can be seen on the Square and along the side streets of the downtown area. Main Street McDonough Program Manager Lauren Singleton says she was “shocked” at the number of entries Wheat secured for the contest.

“I said, ‘Joan, where are you going to put 144 scarecrows?’” says Singleton. “Luckily, she found enough spaces, so God bless her for that.”

Singleton says judges for the contest will have a hard time deciding on a winner, because of the quality of this year’s entries.

“Oh, my gosh, they are amazing!” she says. “Some of them talk, some of them light up, some of them glow in the dark, some of them do all of the above. Some of these, I don’t know where they came up with the idea.”

Singleton says along with residents in Henry County who look forward to the contest each year, others have come from areas including Coweta, Fulton, Fayette, and Clayton counties to check out the scarecrows. She encouraged the public to take advantage of the opportunity to see them.

“People like to see activity on the Square,” she says. “This is probably the longest length of time for an activity on the Square. This is 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a whole month, so people have a lot of time to come and enjoy the scarecrows.”