Trail of Scarecrows continues through Oct. 31 in Fairfield County
Earlier this month, scarecrows in all manner of dress and poses began popping up throughout Olde Pickerington Village, as well as in front of other businesses and homes around the community.
While it is the season for such displays, there’s more method to the arrays than simple Halloween revelry.
Pickerington is one of 14 communities taking part in Visit Fairfield County’s Trail of Scarecrows contest, which seeks to celebrate autumn and Halloween while also encouraging people to explore the sights, tastes and more that are offered throughout the county.
“We wanted to get people from Fairfield County, as well as people from the Columbus area and other places to move around and different parts of the county,” said Jonett Haberfield, executive director of Visit Fairfield County, a Lancaster-based nonprofit information and tourism organization.
Through the trail, businesses, churches, organizations and residents throughout the county have set up outdoor scarecrow displays.
Visit Fairfield County has created a digital map of all the displays at bit.ly/ScarecrowMap20. Visitors can vote for their favorites at bit.ly/ScarecrowTrailVoting20.
In addition to the map, those wishing to find any or all of the 283 displays along the trail can download an app that catalogs each scarecrow a person has seen when within 50 feet of a display.
“There’s a challenge for people in each (participating) community to find at least half of the displays in their community,” Haberfield said. “Everyone who meets the challenge gets entered into a drawing for a gift basket.
“Each scarecrow also has a name, and the person who’s scarecrow gets the most votes as people’s favorite will get a $50 Visa gift certificate and bragging rights.”
This is the second year Visit Fairfield County has organized the trail, and Haberfield said there are about 60 more displays this year.
She took the concept from Toni Harper, a retired teacher from Bremen, who in 2018 organized a smaller version of the trail in her own community.
Now, Haberfield said, Fairfield County is the unofficial “Scarecrow Capital of Ohio.”
“There is an ulterior motive to help the small businesses in our county, especially this year, by bringing people into communities to see the scarecrows,” Haberfield said. “But it’s not all businesses. We have a lot of service organizations, churches and residents who are participating.”
The Pickerington Village Association, a group of business and organization leaders that works to promote fellow members in Olde Pickerington Village, is taking part in the trail for the second year.
PVA President Janis Francis, who owns The Humble Crate Artisan Marketplace at 18 E. Columbus St., said the event is a fun way the community to celebrate autumn and to promote businesses and organizations.
“An event like the Scarecrow Trail provides a sense of community and togetherness in what has been an otherwise literally uneventful year,” Francis said. “Events have been cancelled across the board.
“The Trail of Scarecrows is a self-guided tour for folks to enjoy at their leisure without the need to worry about crowds and social distancing.”
Francis said there are more than 30 scarecrow displays in Pickerington.
The trail will be on display through Oct. 31.
The PVA also will hold a "Haunted Highway” event 4 to 7p.m. Oct. 28 at 89 N. Center St. – the site of the Olde Pickerington Farmers’ Market.
The Haunted Highway will replace the Haunted Village held by the city of Pickerington. The latter event, which reportedly draws more than 2,000 people to Olde Pickerington, was scrapped amid COVID-19 coronavirus concerns.
In its place, the Haunted Highway will feature up to 60 businesses and community groups that will hand out treats to visitors who will pass through in a drive-thru system.
“For this year only – we are confident things will return to normal in 2021 – we came up with the Haunted Highway,” Francis said. “It’s a drive-thru trick-or-treat, or trunk-or-treat.
“Participants are to register for time slots at cityofpickerington.activityreg.com. We felt this will achieve an organized, consistent flow of traffic.”
Francis said groups aligned down the farmers’ market site will wear face masks and gloves as they pass out prepackaged treats to each car.
“Vehicles coming through are asked to roll down their window and hold a bag out for the treats,” she said.