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May. 21, 2018
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Create a scarecrow to pose in Gainesville Garden

By Jane Harrison
Stuff your imagination into a straw effigy this month to display in a beautiful setting in October. Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Gainesville Garden is accepting registrations for its inaugural Scarecrows in the Garden through Sept. 8. The fall tradition, popular at the Midtown Atlanta garden, is a natural at the more rural Gainesville garden where the main ingredients – straw and creativity – abound.
“Our visitors and members always enjoy it (in Atlanta), so we decided to bring it to Gainesville,” said Mildred Fockele, director of the Smithgall Woodland Legacy Garden. Sightseers flock to the garden in October, one of the highest visitation months, to see the whimsical, artsy, and sometimes scary characters posed amidst the season’s blooms and foliage.
Scarecrow creators can register online at the Garden’s website: (search for Gainesville Garden). The garden will accept 25 scarecrows, which will be on display Oct. 4-29.

Anyone can register. Fockele suggested the event would give scout groups, art clubs, book clubs, individuals and businesses opportunity to bundle loose ends into a creative venture. Registrants enter either professional or non-professional categories. Professional represents anyone on the scarecrow team who is in any way compensated for art or design services or for fabrication services.
Registrants can drop off their scarecrows Sept. 27. Garden staff will assemble and pose them. The garden provides signage identifying the organization and name of the scarecrow. Each paid registration gets four free tickets to the garden during the exhibition.
The garden is not the only local gathering place for hayseed fun this fall. The Gainesville CVB’s Squarecrows and Gainesville Garden’s scarecrows are colluding, Fockele said. Each organization is promoting the other’s wacky display.
Other unusual characters will invade garden next month. Goblins and creepy crawlies saunter through on Oct. 22. Kids can show off their Halloween costumes in a runway fashion show, complete with crafts and display of nocturnal creatures from the natural world.
Scarecrow Guidelines
  • Build your scarecrow to be freestanding, with a base no larger than 3’ x 3’, easily carried by two people, and weigh less than 40 pounds. Scarecrows are secured, but not dug into the ground.
  • You will not be allowed to set up your scarecrow in the Garden or choose your location. You can set up at the drop off point to show how it goes together or you can attach a photo of it assembled.
  • Do not include live plant material or pumpkins in your display.
  • Make your entry as durable and weatherproof as possible. Any scarecrow that deteriorates to an unacceptable level during the month will be removed.
  • Entries must be suitable for viewing by children. Entries in poor taste for family viewing, depicting controversial subjects, or overtly commercial in nature will not be accepted. Do not include your business logo.
  • The Garden provides signage identifying your organization and the name of your scarecrow. The Garden does not allow any additional signage, pamphlets or handouts to be displayed with your scarecrow.

Posted online 8/29/17
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