Time to bring out those scarecrows

Annual fall fest coming soon


By Sarah Pridgeon

Sundance will need to go bigger, better and brighter with the fall decorating this year, says Joni Spaulding, organizer of the annual Pumpkin Patch Festival. She’s been getting calls from near and far from people who’ve loved visiting the city during fall the last few years and are wondering what kind of scarecrows they can expect to see this year.

“It’s going to be hard to top some of the ones that we’ve done,” Spaulding grins. “People who come to town and have seen the scarecrows want to come back and see them again so we’ve got to keep it going now.”

The scarecrows will be judged this year in three categories, including boldest and most creative. The grand prize of $30 will go to the overall Sundance favorite.

Scarecrows need to be up by Monday, October 1 to give plenty of time for discerning voters to make their selections at the festival.

“Lots of people put them up and then don’t enter them. Anyone can put one up, it doesn’t have to be a business, but it is really good publicity for businesses,” she says.

“But if anybody wants to be in the contest, they need to turn something into me so I can go take a picture of it.”

Entry forms are available on the Bearlodge Bakery and Greenhouse Facebook page, Spaulding says, and can be dropped off at the bakery. Call Spaulding at 281-6113 for more information.

While you’re at the bakery, says Spaulding, feel free to pick up some free straw to stuff your scarecrow.

This year’s Pumpkin Patch Festival will follow the same pattern as last year’s popular event, though in some cases will be growing to fit demand and make sure everyone can enjoy the day and all the activities on offer.

“It was fun last year – it was a good year,” Spaulding says.

This year, for instance, Spaulding is hoping to have two face painters on hand to reduce the wait time for this popular activity and there will be more pumpkins available to buy. An apple press will be available along with plenty of apples to create your own fresh juice.

“Last year we had it for just a little while. We’re hoping to have it for a little longer this year,” Spaulding says. “They will press until we run out of apples.”

Donations or discounted apples would be very welcome, she says, so the cost for kids wanting a cup of apple juice can be kept as low as possible.

Meanwhile, the event will also include treats for the whole family, including balloons, book signings, caramel apples, cotton candy, pumpkin soft serve ice cream, fall-themed sweet treats.

“There are going to be, I think, more vendors and the Senior Center is actually having a garage sale that day so you can go around the corner and do a little garage sale-ing,” Spaulding says.

All the Harvest Farmers Market vendors are expected to attend and Spaulding says she has already been contacted by a number of others who would like to offer their wares.

“It’s a really good way to meet your local farmer because everyone will be there with all their goodies,” she says.

“Call me and I’ll set you up with a spot,” she adds for any vendors who have not yet booked their place. Vendor applications will be accepted until the day before the festival.

Meanwhile, if you would like to help out at the event, Spaulding would love to hear from you.

“We’re always looking for volunteers. It’s a farmers market fundraiser so it’s to help us keep the doors open and the lights on,” she says.

The Pumpkin Patch Festival will take place on October 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Main Street. Come early to browse the best pumpkins while sipping your fresh juice, Spaulding says.