The Cambrian

A lot of creativity goes into Cambria Scarecrow Festival. Here’s a peek of this year’s entries

Many creative endeavors are done determinedly solo.

But for the 11th annual Cambria Scarecrow Festival throughout the month of October, many of the largest street-side exhibits are done en masse by teams of ingenious sculpture artists with talent, manual dexterity and recycling skill, not to mention bizarre visions and senses of humor.

Among the notable team efforts at previous festivals included the massive cornstalk people, singing nuns, stick ladies, 10-year-anniversary party, marching band (which morphed later into soccer players and cavemen) and character groupings representing various movies, books and TV shows.

Some of this year’s visions morphed into reality at the festival’s annual workshops and “Camp K” in a large Village Lane storage unit turned workshop in which new ideas gain substance and old ‘crows get a makeover. Work starts there in April, but festival planning happens all year, according to Paula Ufferheide, the festival board’s president.

Among the large scarecrow displays this year will be:

Zombie wedding party

Zombie wedding party, complete with ghastly, ghostly wedding cake (recycled from the huge 2018 birthday cake). “Most of the zombies were made from old, tired scarecrows from years past,” said project designer/creator Terri Pilot, who with Lesley Hochschild, was crucial to the zombie success, according to Ufferheide.

“The process of ‘zombieizing’ is fun,” Pilot said. “We covered heads with burlap, made scars from liquid latex, ripped up clothes, splattered blood everywhere and fashioned body parts to look as gross as possible.”

There’ll also be a “photo board,” where people can “become a zombie and capture that moment for all posterity,” she said.

The display of about a dozen zombies, eight tombstones and more will be installed in the open area between Merchants Bank (formerly Rabobank) and Cambria Drive.

Friendly ghosts

“The friendly ghosts,” groups of happy phantasms that are part of a search-party game in which children (and the young-at-heart) tally up how many ghosts they’ve seen, and submit that count at the Cambria Chamber of Commerce to be entered for a drawing. “The ghosts are totally opposite the zombies. They’re adorable, friendly and fun,” Pilot said.

Look for the signs along Burton Drive, Main Street and Moonstone Beach Drive that explain how the friendly ghosts came to Cambria for the festival. (Spoiler alert: Look up.)

Whirligig scarecrows

Whirligig scarecrows, each of which will have a round, cylinder face with paddles attached, to catch the wind and whirl. “They’re so adorable,” Ufferheide said of the display made in a workshop headed up by Art Sherwyn and Frank Widmann. “There’s a 20-foot-tall whirligig in the middle,” she added, which follows an informal festival philosophy that says, in some cases, “bigger is better.”

That grouping will be set up in the vacant Main Street lot between the Old Cambria Marketplace/Shell Station and Once Upon a Tyme.

San Simeon also involved

Not to be outdone by its big-sister city to the south, San Simeon is going all out with Hochschild’s “Day of the Dead Fiesta” display” on a staging area that’s 9 feet high and 20 feet long.

She and Ufferheide said the Fiesta includes musicians, flags, hay bales, a pinata, a photo cut-out stand, eight adult scarecrows and a group of 10 ’crow youngsters made by students and their families during a special children’s workshop. The display will be in the lot next to San Simeon Lodge.

Festival events

The 2019 Festival also includes a special Scarecrow Fundraiser on Sept. 28, “Game Day at the Ocean,” with wine, food, music and a fun (if slightly mysterious) interactive team game on a 5-acre estate just north of Cambria. The game will be kind of a cross between a scavenger hunt, “Heads Up,” “Trivial Pursuit” and “Jeopardy.”

Tickets are $47, attendance is limited, and proceeds benefit festival installation activities of the nonprofit Cambria Scarecrow Festival, Inc. Festival folks and the Lions Club of Cambria also collaborate to put on a big Oktoberfest celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Pinedorado grounds. The day of fun, music, games and arts-and-crafts-fair is free; brats, beer and wine will be available to buy.

For details on the festival, go to For event information, click on the events tab.

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