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Scarecrow Festival at Lake Julian Park

Sugar Skull, Butterfly, and Beetlejuice scarecrows

Though apple picking, leaf peeping, and pumpkin spice in everything define the autumn season for many in the North Carolina mountains, scarecrows are a notable symbol of farms and the fall harvest in Buncombe County. The annual Scarecrow Festival returns to Lake Julian Park with scarecrows on view Oct. 25–31.

Buncombe County community members are invited to construct scarecrows as an individual, family, group, school, business, club, or organization. There is no cost to enter. REGISTER BY OCTOBER 19 >

Entries will be judged on originality/creativity, design, and workmanship. Winners will be announced in the categories of Traditional, Recycle and Reduce, and Cultural. Winners in each category, Judges’ Best of Show, and People’s Choice will each win a free picnic shelter rental. All entries will receive one vehicle admission to Festival of Lights, the immensely popular nocturnal display of winter scenes that has become a mountain tradition. Full contest rules are below.

To vote for your favorite scarecrow, visit Buncombe County Recreation Services on Facebook and Instagram by Oct. 26-28.

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Contest Rules


  • Registration ends on Oct. 19, 2021.
  • All entries must be fully assembled and on site at Lake Julian Park no later than noon on Oct. 25, 2021. Participants are also welcome to construct or drop off entries between 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Oct. 21-24, 2021. Information for checking in will be emailed following registration.
  • Scarecrows can be collected any time after 9 a.m. on Nov. 1, 2021.


  • All entries will be displayed outdoors and must be able to withstand the elements.
  • All decorations must be securely attached.
  • Entries must be free standing or have their own support system.
  • All scarecrows must be no larger than 7 feet tall as measured in place from the ground to the highest point of the entry and no wider than 4 feet.
  • Participant name and title of scarecrow must be displayed on a waterproof sign with entry for voting purposes for People’s Choice.


  • Please keep in mind this is a family-friendly event. Political or controversial statements, hate speech, and adult content are not permitted. Buncombe County reserves the right to deny any entry.
  • No electricity will be available for the displays.
  • No items such as tiki torches, gas-powered generators, or any other flammable objects are allowed to be any part of an entry.
  • Human scarecrows or mechanical scarecrows facilitated by a human are not allowed.
  • Buncombe County is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged personal items associated with the scarecrow while on display.


  • Judges will select a Best of Show winner and winners in three categories:
    • Traditional: Utilize old cloth, straw, and natural supplies to pay homage to scarecrows that have been “scaring crows” from farmers’ fields and gardens for centuries.
    • Recycle and Reduce: Create a scarecrow from recyclable and reusable items – such as old milk jugs, flour pots, gourds, soccer balls, wood, etc. – to highlight our community’s commitment to a sustainable future.
    • Cultural: Real world and historical holidays related to the fall season are plentiful! Which does your scarecrow celebrate: harvest, Halloween, Día de Muertos, Ghost Festival, Guy Fawkes Night, All Saints' Day, or something else?
  • For the People’s Choice Award, voting will take place online from Oct. 26-28, 2021.

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Updated Oct 08, 2021 02:27 PM
Published Sep 30, 2020 12:37 PM