October 17, 2012 - The annual Scarecrow Festival, sponsored by the Oxford Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is back and better than ever on Oct. 20 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in Centennial Park.
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New this year is "the best homemade scarecrow contest," which is open to the public for the first time, said DDA Director Madonna VanFossen.
"Anybody whether it's an individual or family, a group of people a classroom, whatever can build a scarecrow and we're asking them to bring it down to the park by 2 p.m. Saturday," she said. "If however they cannot bring it to the park they can take a photograph of it and send it back to the DDA Office by noon on Friday, that way we can have the photographs over there."
The scarecrows will be judged by three judges, one from the township, one from the village, and a retailer.
"The retailers are invited to participate as well," added VanFosssen. "However, when retailers put their scarecrows out it's just to help decorate the downtown and bring them to their business because we have the trick or treating going on for the kids."
VanFossen said they've always encouraged retailers to come up with a promotion, so new this year is the first ever "Witch Hunt," sponsored by 'Wiches."
"Anyone can dress up in a witch's costume and if you dress up in a costume you're automatically getting a $10 gift card from witches which is great," she said.
They will also have a "Parade of Witches" and give out prizes to the top three.
Third place will receive an additional $10 gift card to 'Wiches, second place will get a $25 gift card and 'Wiches t-shirt, and first place will receive $100 cash, plus a $25 gift card, and have their picture displayed in 'Wiches Restaurant.
The festival will also include a chili cookoff, Howl-Ween pet parade, pet zone, farm market, skate and bike park, road rally, bake sale, and a Kidz zone.
"We got a lot of sponsors on board this year, which is great," VanFossen said. "We sent out a really affordable sponsorship package that was pretty well received from the businesses."
She also noted the Kidz Zone is being run by different pre-schools around the area, so it gives them a chance to market themselves, plus it takes a work load off the DDA and Parks and Rec, who is working in a cooperative effort with the DDA.
It's been a great cooperative effort which makes it a lot of fun and it really does ease the work from this office, but also gets others involved," she said.
VanFossen said it also goes along with their campaign "Ask Me Why?"
"Why do I get involved in the DDA? This is just one of the reasons why," she continued. "Because it's fun and you get to plan something the community can participate in."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.