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Effort begins for Scarecrow Harvest Days

An enthusiastic and diverse group of volunteers have rallied to present Scarecrow Harvest Days in Fallbrook for the month of October. The idea, presented by well-known community volunteer Jackie Heyneman, is designed to draw attention to Fallbrook with its interesting events throughout the month and as a result, support the local business economy.

“There is no sponsoring organization behind this,” said Heyneman, who is welcoming any and all individuals, organizations, and business owners to participate in the campaign. “We are just a group of citizens who want to try and improve the town’s economic stability.” So far, 30 individuals have come forward to lend a hand.

The signature of the campaign will be a large number of fanciful scarecrows that are currently being created to promote the event. A similar effort takes place annually in the popular central California coastal town of Cambria. The hope for Fallbrook is the same: that local businesses and organizations will create their own individual scarecrow design to enable an interesting and entertaining community-wide tour for visitors and residents, encouraging them to participate in what the town has to offer.

“One of the things I love about autumn is that it is such a nice time of year to go out on a drive on the weekends, visit pumpkin patches and find little villages,” said volunteer Dawn Mitchell. “We are trying to involve the whole community and bring everyone together to support our downtown.”

Heyneman explained that the volunteers are trying to make the campaign as easy as possible.

“Merchants can make their own, collaborate with others, or we can provide help with their scarecrow creation,” said Heyneman. “The fun in this is the variety – scarecrows can be dressed in any theme desired and can reflect the type of business. We would also like to have a multi-cultural element to this.” Heyneman said there is no cost for a business to participate, although donations to help volunteers purchase supplies won’t be turned away.

Local artist Daniel Martinez is also providing mentorship help with the designs as he has a wide background in this particular art form.

“I can teach people how to fabricate the scarecrows so they are durable and have the right finishing touches,” said Martinez.

A contest was held for a scarecrow design that would lead the effort and be used in promotion of the month-long campaign. The winner of the contest was Kai McMaster, a Fallbrook High School student who submitted the award-winning sketch entitled “Yellow Brick Road,” with an image that is closely related to the Scarecrow character in the Wizard of Oz. McMaster received a prize of $50 for his design and has volunteered to help any others wanting to participate in the campaign by sketching out an idea to fit their desire.

Students are not the only ones involved from Fallbrook High School. Substitute teacher Jan Greenwald obtained a great idea from metal arts teacher Michael Sherreitt.

“Michael recommended that we make the base for the scarecrows out of old brake rotors, because they are heavy and sturdy,” said Greenwald, who has been working on them at the Fallbrook School of the Arts. All the rotors needed were donated by Fallbrook Auto Works.

“Michael did all the welding needed on the rotors before I brought them here to finish working on the bases,” said Greenwald, adding that he was also making some bases out of wood, “they are like a Christmas tree stands.”

“Jan has really been a miracle worker with these,” said Heyneman.

Local clubs, organizations, schools, and churches are encouraged to make October a special month by getting involved with the campaign and adding fun offerings to the community.

“We really want to get our clubs and organizations involved,” said Mitchell. “We will be doing a lot of outreach and going to the school PTAs also.”

The idea of Scarecrow Harvest Days is gaining strength in Fallbrook and has already taken root as a community-wide collaboration filled with lively conversation and camaraderie.

“We have to get involved and make our own fun in Fallbrook,” said Mitchell, with a laugh.

The next scarecrow building “party” will be held Monday, July 16 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Fallbrook School of the Arts, 310 East Alvarado Street.

“Everyone is welcome to stop by, see what we are doing, and get involved if they would like,” said Heyneman.

October events in Fallbrook at this time include:

Oct. 6 – Hands-on glassmaking (part of the American Studio Glass 50th anniversary) at the Art Studios of Fallbrook.

Oct. 7 – Stagecoach Sunday presented by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy at Palomares House.

Oct. 7 – Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society’s annual Fall Festival event in downtown.

Oct. 13-14 – The 50th Anniversary of American Glass Show at the Fallbrook Art Center.

Oct. 14 – Fabulous Strings, Redlands Symphony concert, presented by the Fallbrook Music Society

Oct. 20 – Velvet Cat Home Tour, presented by the Fallbrook Woman’s Club from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – a tour of four beautiful, unique homes including the historic Pittenger Farm House.

Oct. 27 – A Farmer’s Market and Community Harvest Festival – in the parking lot behind the Fallbrook Art Center (more information to come).


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