The Cambrian

Cambria Scarecrow Festival has plenty of stories to tell

Watercolor instructor Chris Van Winkle of Morro Bay sketches in his rendition of Linda Ellerâ™s scarecrow sculpture, âCleopatra Garden Fairyâ™ on Oct. 14 at the Cambria Historical Museum.
Watercolor instructor Chris Van Winkle of Morro Bay sketches in his rendition of Linda Ellerâ™s scarecrow sculpture, âCleopatra Garden Fairyâ™ on Oct. 14 at the Cambria Historical Museum.

The monthlong Scarecrow Festival is half over, with more than 400 scarecrow sculptures scattered throughout downtown Cambria, near Moonstone Beach Drive businesses and in San Simeon. 

But the work is far from over.

Festival coordinators, the Scarecrow Patrol and individual ’crow creators check the artworks daily, adjusting, repairing and (when necessary) covering the sculptures whenever rain is forecast.

Some scarecrow artists have been making the scarecrows (lots of them) for all four years the festival has run. 

Some others are business owners and local amateurs who’ve learned well their new craft. They include 35-year Cambria resident Beth Hartman and Theresa de Alba, both from Manta Rey restaurant, who worked from July to mid-September to create a foursome of Lego-styled super heroes now on display at the south curve of Castillo Drive in San Simeon. 

Superman, Wonder Woman, Aqua Girl and Batman are fashioned from water jugs, wood frames, duct-taped cardboard, dowels, oatmeal boxes and insulation tubes that look like pool noodles … all of which are covered with papier mache, craft paint and liquid silicone coating. 

Among the scarecrow artists are high school students of art teacher Suzette Morrow, other students or participants in the middle school’s YMCA after-school program. 

Some others are professional artists branching off into new media. For instance, Carole Paulsen of San Luis Obispo has for years done window displays for Tina Cleaveland of Home Arts in West Village. Last year, she created a Popeye sculpture for Home Arts to display during the festival, a sculpture Paulsen came to town on Sept. 24 to repair. 

And there’s even more variety in the people who come to town to observe the scarecrows. 

For instance, on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 21 artists from Southern California to Paso Robles came to Cambria’s Center Street to create plein air paintings and sketches of the scarecrows. Most of the artists were painting in the garden of the Cambria Historical Museum. The gathering was part of a weeklong workshop led by watercolorist Chris Van Winkle of Morro Bay.

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