A recent eavesdropping stroll through downtown Cambria and San Simeon emphasized that many people are entranced by the artwork on display for the month-long Scarecrow Festival.
Among the enthusiasts on a warm, sun-drenched Oct. 2, fortunately, were three smiling professionals with a nose for the notable and newsworthy: Jeanette Trompeter, former news anchor and president of The Foundation at Hearst Castle; KSBY Daybreak co-anchor Dustin Klemann; and The Tribune’s Entertainment Editor Sarah Linn.
They were in the area to formally judge this year’s new scarecrow entries and determine the 2019 winners, a daunting task at best.
While they were tightlipped about their final selections — those will be announced at the Octoberfest celebration on Oct. 19 — a couple of the judges were willing to discuss in email interviews their overall impressions of the festival and/or some of their faves.
“I love the Cambria Scarecrow Festival,” Linn said. “It’s a lovely small-town tradition. I’m always impressed by the creativity, talent and imagination on display. These skilled artists are continually finding new ways to explore the scarecrow medium — creating works that surprise and delight. Plus, I get the chance to stroll around one of the Central Coast’s most charming cities in the October sunshine. It’s a true treat.”
She said among her personal favorites this year were “the plump Marie Antoinette look-alike, the handsome Strong Man and Poppi Pixie, a darling little sprite with a pet ladybug perched on a polka-dotted toadstool.
“I love the goofy, gormless expression on Billy Bob Bee Boy,” Linn said. “Jack Skellington is a stunning real-life version of the claymation character from ‘Nightmare Before Christmas.’ He would have made my ‘Most Spooky’ category if there was one, along with the spectral Creeper of the Corn and the gleefully gruesome Zombie Wedding party.”
She added that “the whirlygigs were a creative and clever take on the traditional scarecrow structure, and I appreciate the way they move with the wind.”
“We got to see over 100 brand new scarecrows,” Trompeter said. “I love the spirit of the festival. I love that it’s become an autumn tradition for so many of us (I always take my mom to see them and it’s a reason to staycation in our own community!)... The camaraderie of the artisan population in Cambria to pull this off is so wonderful!”
She also loves “the creativity and work” that goes into creating the scarecrows, Trompeter said. “They capture a theme or event or piece of history so well.”
Trompeter added that “some are true works of art and some are simple but so fun because they are like a great Halloween costume,” concluding that “it was a delightful day and reminded me once again there’s no place like home!”
While Klemann didn’t respond directly to our emailed request for comments, during his judging gig he seemed as enthusiastically charmed by the scarecrow sculptures as Linn and Trompeter were. It was Klemann’s first time at the festival, he said, and it likely won’t be his last.
Later, in his enthusiastic on-air report about the gathering of the scarecrow clan, he noted that the festival “is internationally known” and “brings together a community ... lifting the local economy.”
Klemann reported that the scarecrows are “well decorated ... imaginative, meticulously crafted art.” He called the festival “a good time for all who visit.”
Scarecrow Festival winners will be announced Saturday, Oct. 19, during an Oktoberfest celebration that’s a collaboration between festival folks and the Lions Club of Cambria. The event is to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Pinedorado grounds adjacent to 1000 Main St. in Cambria. The event includes free music, games and an arts-and-crafts-fair. Brats, beer and wine will be available to buy. For details on the Scarecrow Festival and Oktoberfest, go to www.cambriascarecrows.com and click on the events tab.