Temperatures haven’t quite started dropping yet, but autumn is in the air, and the Town of Pierson is kicking the season off with a scarecrow contest. Individuals, businesses and nonprofits have until Friday, Sept. 30, to sign up for a spot and display their scarecrow for all of Pierson to see.
The local contest is the brainchild of Debby and John Sommer, two Bradley, Illinois, transplants who moved to Pierson two years ago. Their home in Bradley has held a scarecrow contest for nine years now, and the Sommers want to see how Piersonites take to it.
“Local residents would just walk around; you could see it from the street, and everyone would turn their head driving down the highway,” Debby Sommer told The Beacon. “They would just do a little walk-around of that area to be able to walk the fence line and check out everyone’s unique talent.”
Filling out the registration form will save contestants a fence post along a long fence at Center Street and First Avenue in Pierson.
Scarecrows must be in place by 6 p.m. Sept. 30, and Piersonites will have all of October to vote on their favorite scarecrows. The first-place winner will take home a $200 cash prize, second-place $100 and third-place $50.
The contest is put together and sponsored by the Sommers and their real estate business with eXp Realty, Sommer Home Group.
Recommended materials for building scarecrows include:
— Chicken wire
— Spanish moss or straw
— Cornhusks and stalks
— Pieces of wood
— Disposable shopping bags
— Plastic jugs
— Strings of beads
— Old clothing
The sky’s the limit, Debby Sommer said.
“Any type of scarecrow people want to build, there’s no limit on their imagination,” she said.
She added, “As long as it’s PG-13.”
The contest organizers will be getting in on the fun, too.
“We’re going to have our scarecrow,” Debby Sommer said. “It’s going to have a for-sale sign.”
Any interested businesses, individuals, families, school groups, nonprofits or youth organizations have until Sept. 30 to register online, HERE, or by contacting Debby Sommer by phone, at 386-414-0162, or by email, at email@example.com. Registrants can also go to Pierson Town Hall, 106 N. Center St., to fill out a form.
There is no fee to register for the contest.
Voting will begin Saturday, Oct. 1, and take place online — The Beacon will update this story once the link to vote is live — and in person throughout the month of October. Voting forms will be available at Pierson Town Hall.
Winners will be notified and announced on social media Tuesday, Nov. 1, and all decorations must be removed by Sunday, Nov. 6.
If all goes well, Debby Sommer said, the scarecrow contest could become a new annual tradition.
“I’m hoping if it does turn out well,” she said, “it will get bigger and bigger every year.”