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If I only had a brain 

See our stuffed friends by the sea

I learned everything I know about scarecrows from Mrs. Nelson’s 3rd grade class website. I don’t know Mrs. Nelson personally, but she’s really done her homework here, explaining how farmers have been making scarecrows for 3,000 years!

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE SCARECROWS & HARVEST FESTIVAL
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF THE SCARECROWS & HARVEST FESTIVAL
 
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE SCARECROWS & HARVEST FESTIVAL
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF THE SCARECROWS & HARVEST FESTIVAL

Apparently, “The first scarecrows in recorded history were made along the Nile River to protect wheat fields from flocks of quail,” Mrs. Nelson wrote. “Egyptian farmers put wooden frames in their fields and covered them with nets. The farmers hid in the fields and scared the quail into the nets. Then they took them home and ate them for dinner!”

Mrs. Nelson is a freaking fount of knowledge! She goes on to highlight Greek and Roman statue-carving, as well as the Japanese practice of draping bamboo poles with fish bones and meat to set on fire, keeping pests away through the power of smoke and smell.

Sounds nasty! Hopefully no one at Cambria’s annual Scarecrows & Harvest Festival will try that approach. When I was looking through last year’s entries, my favorite scarecrows depicted Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo, which got me thinking about other awesome scarecrows couples people could enter this year.

How about recreating the John Lennon and Yoko Ono Two Virgins album cover? Think of the money you’ll save not having to scour thrift stores for clothes! All you need is a bunch of straw, some judiciously placed hair, and some little round spectacles.

Or how about Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards? One black suit, dark shades, a small mountain of cocaine … and for her, a tight little dress and a couple of huge silicon breast implants? It’d be hilarious!

I’d also love to see a Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio! Blonde wig on a curvy scarecrow next to a tall, rail-thin one with a ball cap on? Huh? Huh?

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE SCARECROWS & HARVEST FESTIVAL
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF THE SCARECROWS & HARVEST FESTIVAL
- GET SCARED!:  The Cambria Historical Society presents its annual Scarecrows & Harvest Festival beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, and running through Monday, Oct. 31, when scarecrows will decorate the streets of Cambria’s East and West Villages as well as Moonstone Drive. The really big events happen on Friday, Oct. 7, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. with “An Evening of Beer & Brats;” Saturday, Oct. 8 with bluegrass, folk, and blues music from The SLO Pokes and a pie-baking contest; and finally Sunday, Oct. 9, with the “Something to Crow About” talent show—all at the Cambria Historical Museum (2251 Center St.; 927-2891). Visit cambriascarecrows.com for details and entry forms. -
  • GET SCARED!: The Cambria Historical Society presents its annual Scarecrows & Harvest Festival beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, and running through Monday, Oct. 31, when scarecrows will decorate the streets of Cambria’s East and West Villages as well as Moonstone Drive. The really big events happen on Friday, Oct. 7, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. with “An Evening of Beer & Brats;” Saturday, Oct. 8 with bluegrass, folk, and blues music from The SLO Pokes and a pie-baking contest; and finally Sunday, Oct. 9, with the “Something to Crow About” talent show—all at the Cambria Historical Museum (2251 Center St.; 927-2891). Visit cambriascarecrows.com for details and entry forms.

I got a million of them. What’s that? You’d rather learn more from Mrs. Nelson? Fine!

“The Great Plague killed almost half the people in Britain in 1348, so landowners couldn’t find enough bird scarers to protect their crops. They stuffed sacks with straw, carved faces in turnips or gourds, and made scarecrows that stood against poles.”

Thanks for scaring the crap out of all the 3rd graders, Mrs. Nelson! Geesh! She went on to explain that German farmers in Pennsylvania created bogeymen by topping work clothes—think overalls and coats—with a head made out of a broom, mop, or bag of straw. They added some color by tying a red handkerchief around the creation’s wooden-pole neck.

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE SCARECROWS & HARVEST FESTIVAL
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF THE SCARECROWS & HARVEST FESTIVAL

Now that sounds like the traditional, good old, all-American scarecrow, just the sort you’ll see throughout Cambria Saturday, Oct. 1, through Monday, Oct. 31.

In our next Art Bash, you can read all about Bill Murray’s birthday, and the Thursday after that, I’ll take you on a tour of this year’s scarecrows. Now sign up for that pie-baking contest or scarecrow-building contest and get cracking!

Glen Starkey takes a beating and keeps on bleating. Keep up with him via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at Myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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