#ThrowbackThursday: Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest

The day started as most do in the SYV: beautiful. But it wouldn’t be a normal day. Today, I was honored to be one of 5 anonymous judges (sshhh) of this year’s Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest.

SYV scarecrow fest judges

Protecting the identities of the 5 judges!

I met Solvang 3rd Wednesday President Susan Williams, Marissa Yott of Social Buzz SYV, Tenley Fohl of Tenley Fohl Photography, and the other 4 judges at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall at 9am to start our tour of the SYV to check out the winning scarecrows of Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang. Ballard’s Scarecrow is judged along with Solvang’s entries. Our friends in Los Alamos did not compete this year.

We climbed aboard the Solvang Parks & Rec shuttle with Kyle Abello behind the wheel and were off to Buellton to check out the first finalist.

A little history on the Scarecrow Fest;

In 2010, Sue Moualim of the Artistic Pony Studios, Ltd. and Susan Williams, of Solvang Third Wednesday, put their heads together to think of a great way to celebrate the Harvest and Autumn Season in Solvang. A scarecrow contest was the result. 60 businesses joined in creating their own zany, quirky, sweet, traditional, Danish, spooky, crazy, and downright funny scarecrows that year.

It has grown every year to the delight of locals and tourists with over 600 ballots being turned in. Everyone gets to vote. In 2013, it expanded to include different categories and the entire Santa Ynez Valley, with each town picking a winner to represent them in the finals.

After a short drive, we arrive at the Buellton Parks Plaza Theater and enter. Greeting us is a fun and inventive Marilyn Monroe Scarecrow. Complete with a fan blowing her skirt up (modestly).

buellton scarecrow

A fun recreation of Marilyn’s iconic movie moment

Next stop is Los Olivos, and because it’s a bit of a drive, the judges were offered mimosas and cookies. In!

After a shorter drive than expected, we arrived at Alta Maria’s tasting room. They represented Los Olivos with an interactive display of two scarecrows with cut outs in the head so folks could pose and take pictures.

Los Olivos scarecrow

Photo-ops abound with the Los Olivos scarecrow entry

We had fun taking pictures with it and were eventually corralled to get back on the bus. Next stop, Santa Ynez!

Santa Ynez gets the kids involved and the winner was 5th grader, Jennifer Pedersen (Sponsored by Linda & Clark Small and Dos Carlitos Restaurant) with an incredible likeness of Captain Jack Sparrow.

SY scarecrow

Is that you, Jack Sparrow?

Now off to our final stop: Solvang! We depart the shuttle and walk half a block to Eco Wine Furniture. There we see an amazing scarecrow made completely out of a wine barrel.

Solvang scarecrow

Made from wine barrels!

We find out from the owner that it took 60 hours to create this masterpiece scarecrow.

The task of having to vote for one winner for the valley is at hand. All of them were creative, inventive, not your grandma’s scarecrow and definitely deserving of being in the finals. But in the end it was a unanimous vote for a standout Scarecrow. Do you have your favorite?

There was a grand announcement event a week later at last year’s winner location which was Valley Pets in Buellton. Everyone gathered and waited in anticipation for the announcement.

And the 2014 Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest Winner is….

Solvang’s Eco Wine Furniture!

Congratulations, Eco Wine Furniture!

For more information on Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest, visit http://syvscarecrows.com/.


Santa Ynez Valley EventsAbout VisitSYV.com: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best Santa Ynez wineries, best places to eat in Solvang, Santa Ynez hotels and inns, and things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at www.VisitSYV.com for complete travel and visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations. Email info@VisitSYV.com for help planning your next vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley.