Scarecrows have been damaged
Last updated 10/22/2020 at 2:59pm
Seven years ago as a new resident to Fallbrook I chose to know my new town by becoming a volunteer photographer of people and places so I could learn quickly. I discovered my new hometown's places and people in an accelerated way.
My past experience was being a documentary filmmaker and coordinator of 100 volunteers over five years to make a movie while still working as a nurse, rehab care manager for 40 years and producing /hosting an interview program for a local cable TV.
I started here in Fallbrook with the constant work of graffiti cleanup and trash pickup and photographing kids being taught to care for our beautiful environment for future generations.
The boundless energy by those in the 150 nonprofit groups – which includes the artistic community – opened me up to how many rich, cultural offerings there are in this little town.
Taking photos of the wonderful people and their activities helped me in my transition to my new home known as "the friendly village.
I am in my fifth year as a scarecrow volunteer helping create unique Halloween scarecrows intended to be a light-hearted way to draw tourists here while creating a bit of fun for the residents.
Quiet creative types construct crazy creatures at workshops while the Scarecrew works together with that unified goal in mind. One can't help but smile at this new way to show stores are "open for business."
But this year was different. Two scarecrows were vandalized – one on each end of town.
Why on earth would someone punch the funny face of a young papier mache scarecrow sitting on a bench? Who needs a Halloween costume so bad they must rip apart a carefully created scarecrow of a charismatic sports star?
As many as 10 young kids helped create and painstakingly paint that scarecrow with the help of friends and teachers leading the way.
The vandalization and theft of crafted scarecrows intended to generate smiles does what exactly? Each "crow" represents hours of hard work and a commitment to benefit Fallbrook. The businesses feel violated and a sense of loss when theirs are destroyed. What is it with you scarecrow vandals?
Fun matters. Clean streets, graffiti-free buildings, a walkable downtown all matter to us. Is ruining good times for residents, visitors, elders and kids alike a goal? Reckless destructive actions are considered fun? Is it empowering to damage a simple scarecrow, steal a scarecrow, steal the costume of a sports figure or damage the artistry of a sculpted face?
Fallbrook, we need to rely on each other now more than ever. If you are a neighbor, you will sound the alarm when you see someone destroying or stealing something decent and meant for the good of the community.
It's up to each one of us to make life a positive experience – especially for the kids who really love the scarecrows.
It has been fun documenting the work of countless volunteers and leaders of the 150 different volunteer and nonprofit organizations, but the saddest part has been taking pictures of the damage done to these fun forms of public art.
My advice to those of you who destroyed the scarecrows this year, maybe you should join others in contributing – rather than taking something away from our town? Be a positive force, make a scarecrow, it could change you, it would bring joy to the community instead of fear.
Any community is the sum of its parts and best when working together. The challenge to graffiti artists, reckless smashers, and thieves is to make a change. Contribute, don't destroy!