The month-long, smile-producing Cambria Scarecrow Festival doesn’t officially begin until Monday, but some of the soft — and not-so-soft — sculptures are already showing up on town streets.
The fourth annual festival is already getting publicity nationwide, including in the travel sections of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune — both with a photo — and the Huffington Post, a popular website. Advertising about the festival will run in Westways and Central Valley magazines, organizers say.
Festival organizers prefer not to say yet how many scarecrows will be on display this year — primarily because more entries are still coming in — but they do say they expect at least as many as last year’s 212 registered entries, plus numerous unregistered latecomers.
And why are the scarecrows out so early? Organizers asked exhibitors to set up their sculptures ahead of schedule so attendees at Sunset magazine’s “Savor the Central Coast,” which began Thursday and continues through Sunday, can see them.
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The appearance of so many human-like figures along busy Main Street and other roads regularly causes instances of distracted driving. Organizer Taylor Hilden warns drivers to be aware that others may suddenly slow, swerve and make unexpected stops to take pictures.
While some scarecrows may look familiar, there are to be plenty of new ones and innovations.
“Our workshops presented some new techniques, and the results are definitely impressive,” Hilden said. For instance, “engineers have been inspired — get ready for some motion scarecrows!”
The scarecrow festival, put on annually by a coalition of individuals, businesses, organizations, nonprofits and agencies, began in 2009 as part of the Cambria Historical Society Harvest Festival.
This year’s Harvest Festival runs from Oct. 12-14 and includes a Friday night “beer ’n’ brats” dinner; Saturday pumpkin decorating, live music and silent auction; and Sunday pie-baking contest, talent show and kids’ activities. The festival is at the Cambria Historical Museum, Burton Drive at Center Street.
Proceeds of the month-long scarecrow and three-day Harvest Festival benefit the historical society.