Scarecrow Fest Hosts Biggest Crowd Yet

Barely touching the ground as they race down Main Street as part of the Scarecrow Festival's casket race are the Student Senate team of WCCC. The Student Senate has won all three years of the race. Kim Blanchette rode in the casket while Daynah Brown, Skyler Cole, John Vanosdol, and Sean Hill provided propulsion. (Photo by Lura Jackson).

By Lura Jackson


The third annual Scarecrow Fest drew the biggest number of participants to date, thanks in part to the abundant sunshine and favorable weather conditions, along with the efforts of the Calais Downtown Revitalization Coalition [CDRC] to spread the word of the event. The most popular event of the day by far was the casket racing competition, but many others stayed to watch or join in the various other events held throughout the day.

The day began with cookie decorating, sponsored by St. Croix Media. Children of all ages enjoyed trying their hand at decorating sugar cookies with colored sugar, frosting, and sprinkles. More than 300 cookies were prepared for the event and nearly all of them were gone by the time it was over.

At 11, the streets filled with cleverly costumed adults and an array of caskets of various designs. For the past two years, the Student Senate of Washington County Community College has come in first place, winning the $500 prize. This year, despite new entrants from groups around the community, including the Dead River Vampires, the Zumba Zombies, JMG/CMHS, Dunkin Donuts, Artemis’s Attic, and two casket teams from Wal-Mart, the Student Senate once again proved its desire to “Create success” by holding on to the top slot with a time of 47.16 seconds. The Senate team consisted of Daynah Brown, Skyler Cole, John Vanosdol, Kim Blanchette, and Sean Hill. Dunkin Donuts came in 2nd, winning $250 with its time of 51.89. Team members for the Dunkin Donuts casket were John Cowell, Christopher Moreside, Jessica Wiggett, Franklin Morrison, and Zachary Atkinson. The Calais Lionesses – who, they wished to share, had a combined team age of over 300 – won Best in Show with their theatrical colored smoke and witchy attire, netting $100 for their organization. Their team members were Cindy O’Brien, Theresa Brown, Lorraine Mitchell, Mary Jean Redding, and Linda Howe.

After the casket racing, the crowd flocked to Artemis’s Attic to enjoy the annual Chili Cookoff where it was proven, once and for all, who has the best chili in the St. Croix Valley (at least until the next competition). The entry from Cinthya Massy was voted the favorite from attendees. Fifty percent of the funds raised from those who came to taste the chilis went to the winner, and fifty percent went to Artemis’s Attic.

While some supped on chili, the youth and several accompanying adults gathered in Triangle Park to decorate pumpkins in an event sponsored by Calais Regional Hospital. 100 pumpkins were donated by the hospital for the purpose. Seasonal themes of ghoulish faces were popular, though others opted to paint long-time favorites like the American flag, or to utilize the opportunity to explore abstract art. 

Once the pumpkins were appropriately painted, the task of wrapping dozens of children in toilet paper to create temporary mummies began. While it took those present longer to wrap the participants in paper than it did to run the actual event, the mummy race – sponsored by the Calais Free Library – was easily one of the most adorable events of the day. 

In a decidedly less adorable sequence of events, the soda drinking and pizza eating contests were organized in the same spot. Youth in two age divisions were invited to participate in the soda drinking, quaffing bottles as quickly as they could. In the first division, Nathiel Newell came in first, Haley Way was second, and Tatyana Fortune was third. In the second division, Bradley Walton was first, Kadynce Flynn was second, and Oceana Carter was third. After the soda drinking, men and women over 14 had their own separate pizza eating competitions, with Jo’s Diner providing the pizzas and the prizes. More than 40 pizzas were made for the event, many of which were given away at the end. The first place winners of both the soda and pizza eating contests were given certificates for 12 18” pizzas over a year and $50 in cash, second place winners received 6 14” pizzas over a year, and third place winners were given 3 12” pizzas. For the men, Nicholas “Wolverine” Sluzenski came in first, Dylan Korsadowicz came in second, and Ryan Furtek came in third. For the women, Barbra Ramsdell came in first, Stephanie Austin came in second, and Erin Fortune came in third. This is the seventh year of the event, but the first that it has been held during the Scarecrow Festival.

After succeeding in not tossing their pizza, some participants stayed to watch or try their hand at cadaver tossing, an event sponsored by the CDRC. The “cadavers” were taped together and dressed for the weather. Two age brackets – 14 and under and 15 and over – were given the opportunity to see how far down the field they could fling their cadaver. Cherish Glidewell and Taylor Carter were the champions of the youth bracket and Andrea and Grace Duplisea aced the adult bracket. The winners received a certificate for an 18” pizza with three toppings from Jo’s Diner. 

Throughout the day, CHS Junior and JMG member Amber Pendleton painted the faces of children and adults alike with whatever designs they requested. Pendleton donated six hours of her time to make the community that much more festive. 

Following the festival, the winners of the scarecrow competition were announced. Each winner received a $100 cash prize and a $50 gift certificate to a downtown business. The scarecrow voted most traditional was the one compiled by Smoke on the Water; the scene voted to have the best seasonal expression was by Mercier’s Hair Salon; the most creative scarecrow was Dead River Company’s, and the scene voted over the top was put together by Artemis’s Attic.