Scarecrow Days promotion moves on, despite vandalism

       Despite recent, disspiriting vandalism incidents, scarecrows are scheduled to become part of the Old Colorado City again scene this weekend.
       The Historic District Merchants of Old Colorado City (HDM) is sponsoring the 15th annual Scarecrow Days marketing/entertainment event, which features handmade, straw-filled entities created by various merchants. Typically, because of procrastination, business responsibilities or other reasons, the scarecrows don't appear until the day of the “celebrity” judging, which this year will be Saturday, Oct. 8.
       The judging day is about a week later this year than last, but still following the plan started by the HDM in 2010 to frame the scarecrow theme around a series of October activities, climaxed by the annual Safe Treats on Halloween. Judges this year will include a TV personality, a banker, a restaurateur and a motel owner, according to Bernideen Canfield, HDM director.
       The vandalism, occurring over two days, involved the ripping open of 11 hay bales that had been purchased for the event. Most of them were at Bancroft Park, with the straw spread around on the stage. Other deliberately broken bales had been in front of businesses, including Canfield's.
       “It's a lot of work to clean up,” she said. “The straw from one bale fills up five garbage bags.”
       The HDM filed a police report, but no one's been arrested.
       The group is replacing six bales, but not the five that had been at the park. They were to have been used for one of the five Scarecrow Days “photo stations” (in which Old Town visitors can take their pictures next to scarecrows), but HDM members don't want to chance losing more bales… or even scarecrows.
       “We're disappointed,” Canfield said. “This is the first time this has happened in 15 years.”
       A bale is needed to position a scarecrow. A stick (usually concealed in the back) props up the display and is secured to the bale.
       Merchants are hopeful no more vandalism occurs. “Obviously, there is a shortage of [police] manpower, so nobody is doing anything about it,” she said. There has been a concern all summer about increased loitering in the park. “I wish they'd leave our stuff alone,” she added.
       The five remaining photo stations are on the avenue at Colbrunn Court, 25th Street and two locations in the 2600 block.
       An upcoming Scarecrow Days activity, free and open to the public, will be “Kids in the Kabin - Spooky Saturday” Oct. 15. Library staff will read ghost stories to children - who need to be accompanied by adults - from 1 to 1:45 p.m. and from 3 to 3:45 p.m. in the Garvin Cabin in Bancroft Park.
       Safe Treats, which in recent years has drawn an estimated 4,000 kids to trick-or-treat for free candy from Old Colorado City merchants, will be from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 31.

Westside Pioneer article