Scarecrow festival scared up extra business in Cambria

Many Cambria business owners say they’re happy about sales during the annual Scarecrow Festival in October, when more than 430 custom-made figures were displayed around the community.

Sue Patchen of Antiques On Main said in a letter to the Cambria Chamber of Commerce that “this has been the best month of October for our business in 17 years,” and the “scarecrows brought more shoppers to the East Village of Cambria than any other event. This was a real asset.”

Retail outlets Cambria Outdoors (formerly River Addiction) and A Matter of Taste, as well as restaurants Indigo Moon and Linn’s and Robin’s, also reported good business in October, according to Mary Ann Carson, executive director of the chamber, and Sue Robinson, festival co-chairwoman.

Carson said that “most hotel occupancy was up, too. However, this year has been up 6 to 7 percent, all year.”

Scarecrow Festival representatives plan to give a wrap-up report to the Cambria Tourism Board at its public meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Cambria Pines Lodge. The board put up $4,975 for this year’s festival.

Other entrepreneurs say they haven’t yet tallied up October stats, but many agree business was up. Jani Mohr of Teresa Belle Gallery said the last two weeks of October were the best, perhaps because earlier in the month, people were less apt to spend during the government shutdown.

“People were definitely very cautious,” she said. “Once that was over, I saw an uptick, almost the very next day.

“I do think the scarecrows bring in a lot more people, year after year,” Mohr said. “Overall, the festival is a very good plus for the community.”

Kevin Cooper, manager of his family’s Bluebird Inn, said it’s difficult to quantify the number of guests who stayed at the historic motel specifically because of the festival. Many came into the lobby, “had some coffee, asked about the scarecrows and then about the motel,” he said.

He estimated there were an extra 20 bookings or more because of the scarecrows.

“At least half a dozen came specifically to see the Scarecrow Festival, and stayed with us,” he said. “At least one came in after looking at the scarecrows, asked about our rates, and said, ‘OK, we’ll stay here.’ ”

“We love the scarecrows,” Cooper said. The festival “is great for business. We love the fact that it’s fascinating, puts Cambria on the map. We’re 100 percent behind it.”

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