Voting Open For Inaugural Parks & Rec Scarecrow Contest
NOTE (Wednesday, October 28, 2020): This post has been updated to included photos of the three final scarecrows that arrived at Fairfield Hills on Tuesday, October 27. The story itself has not been changed.
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Rose Ann Reggiano could not be more pleased with the inaugural offering of a new Parks & Rec event.
The assistant director of recreation for Newtown’s Parks & Recreation department, Reggiano is overseeing its newest offering: a scarecrow contest open to all residents of town.
The First Annual Scarecrow Contest welcomed its first entry on October 15, when employees of Newtown Health District arrived with their Felonious Gru. The takeoff on the popular character from the Despicable Me movies had a place of honor just outside the main entrance of Newtown Community Center.
For the next nine days, scarecrows continued to arrive. Most that were expected were in place by the afternoon of Sunday, October 25.
As of midday Monday, October 26, there were 22 scarecrows on view. Reggiano said 25 groups had registered, filling all available spaces for this first year of the friendly competition, but a few had not appeared by sunset Sunday, the deadline for groups to put their creations on display. She thought they might still show up during the week.
The scarecrows in place by Monday morning were a cross-section of their creators. Some included notes or signs that made their designers and builders obvious, while others were more anonymous regarding their sources.
The details on many made the difference between a standard scarecrow in a corn field and the artistic displays currently on view within the Fairfield Hills campus. Girl Scout troops created their own patches. Garden clubs used a variety of natural items to enhance features on their scarecrows. One assisted living community designed a pair of dancing scarecrows, bringing to life their Labor Day Parade float. Still another group used painted shields and a very ornately carved pumpkin to accessorize their scarecrow.
For those who visit the campus for nighttime events, the “heart” of one scarecrow glows in the dark. Another very classic looking scarecrow is especially spooky thanks to its placement near one of the wings of the massive former Shelton Hall building.
A ballot box is located in the vestibule of the Newtown Community Center, 8 Simpson Street, for voting, which opened Monday. Voting will continue until the close of the Newtown Community Center on Thursday, October 29. Each scarecrow is accompanied by a large number, hanging on the lamp post the scarecrow is also affixed to. That number is what people casting votes should put on their ballots.
Ballots are available here. They can also be picked up at the front/reception desk of the community center.
Voting is limited to one ballot per person, per day. Ballots should be placed in the orange box decorated like a pumpkin in the community center vestibule. The ballot box will be accessible any time that building is open (Monday through Thursday, 6 am-9 pm).
Reggiano plans to announce winners in the categories of Most Original Scarecrow, Newtown Pride Scarecrow, and People’s Choice Scarecrow on Friday, October 30. Thanks to a few local sponsors, there will be prizes for each winning team in addition to the previously announced family four-pack of pool passes for summer 2021.
Suggested Viewing Route
To see all 22 scarecrows, a suggested route follows:
From Wasserman Way, use the main entrance for Fairfield Hills, turning onto Trades Lane; there are three scarecrows along the western and southern sides of Trades before its intersection with Keating Farms Avenue.
Turn right onto Keating Farms Avenue. Between this corner and the intersection with Washington Square, there are four scarecrows. Two additional scarecrows have been placed on the southern corner of Washington Square and Keating Farms Avenue, in front of Newsylum.
Turning left, follow Simpson Street to the parking lot of the community center. There is one scarecrow on the eastern corner of Simpson and the parking lot, and then two more scarecrows in front of the center.
Turn around in the community center lot; head back to and take the right onto Simpson Street, heading toward NYA Sports & Fitness Center. One scarecrow is on the southern side of Simpson, between its intersections with 1st Street and Primrose Street.
At the corner of Simpson and Primrose streets, turn around and to travel northwest on Simpson Street. There are two scarecrows along the lawn of Newtown Municipal Center, and a third has been set up at the corner of Simpson Street and 1st Avenue.
Turn left onto 1st, and head north. One entry — featuring two dancing scarecrows — is midway along that stretch, just in front of the recently dedicated Tammy’s Garden.
Turn around from there and head back toward Simpson Street. Turn right, and head northwest, returning to the corner of Simpson and Keating. Another scarecrow can be found on the eastern corner of that intersection.
Next, head north on Keating Farms Avenue. At the intersection with D.G. Beers Boulevard, one scarecrow is staged on the southern corner of that intersection, and another is on the southeastern corner.
Finally, turn left onto Trades Lane. Heading north, the final two scarecrows will come into view before the exit of Fairfield Hills.
Already Looking Ahead
Monday morning, as she stood in the vestibule of the community center, Reggiano gazed out toward some of the entries and could not help but smile.
“I love seeing all the people enjoying the scarecrows,” she said. “People are stopping while they’re walking or running, some of them are posing their dogs in front of them for photos… it’s great.”
While this year’s event is called “Scare COVID Out Of Newtown,” Reggiano is already looking toward 2021 and beyond.
Reggiano got the idea, she said, from a similar event in a neighboring town.
“I’ve been wanting to bring this here for years,” she said. “I’m so glad we were able to do this year.”
She is already receiving a lot of very positive feedback, she said this week.
In the year of COVID-19, when events have been canceled or curtailed since March, a new Halloween offering is exactly what many people needed this month. Social distancing precautions can still be followed.
“This can be done by anyone of any age,” Reggiano said last week. “You can walk around and see all the scarecrows, or you can stay right in your vehicle and still see all of them.”