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Scare up some prize money at the Auburn Community Festival

Scarecrow contest entries accepted
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal features editor
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Are you going to be the next Ethan Noto? Noto’s “Harvesting the Competition” won the $1,000 “People’s Choice” award, as well as second place, during the 2009 Auburn Community Festival scarecrow contest. Noto was inspired to enter the contest after he read about it in the Journal just a couple weeks prior to last year’s Auburn Community Festival. “I literally built that whole thing in three weeks,” Noto said. “I was working on it 24-7 to get it done.” Noto’s finished product stood 15 feet tall and depicted a larger-than-life fella who put the “scare” in scarecrow. “The first thought I had was, ‘Dude, I’ve got to go in there and kill the competition,’” he said. “Why not look like I’ve got a scarecrow that’s going to come in and take them all out?” While Noto’s not sure whether or not he’ll enter this year’s contest, that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a go. The scarecrow contest is open to all for a $5 entry fee, and some serious prize money is up for grabs. The open category offers $3,150 in prizes, ranging from $1,000 for first place to $150 for fifth place. A youth category, for participants 14 and younger, pays a total of $575, with $200 for first down to $50 for fifth place. Two $100 youth group awards are available, as is a $1,000 People’s Choice prize. “Usually the People’s Choice wins by a landslide,” said Barbara Jicha, who organizes the scarecrow contest. “People like to stuff the ballot box. We have to watch it pretty carefully.” Entry forms will be taken up until the morning of the festival, on Oct. 16, but Jicha suggests submitting the entry form and $5 fee by Oct. 14. Scarecrow judging goes from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 16 and winners will be announced at 3 p.m. Jicha said the five judges will base their decisions on craftsmanship, creativity and overall appeal. She remains tight-lipped about who’s on the judging panel. Some 2010 participants are also keeping secrets. Barbara Wibberley, whose “Barnyard Bistro” won first place, and $1,000, last year, is working on a 2010 entry with her son Bryan, 16. Wibberley didn’t reveal details about this year’s entry. “It’s going to be really fun this year,” she said. “We’ve been working on it a long time and I think people are going to get a thrill out of it.” Kurt Barton, a Meadow Vista resident who describes himself as a scarecrow contest “old timer,” didn’t give up much other than the working title of his 2010 entry, which he calls “Shooting Geese in Technicolor.” Barton said he gets a kick out of participating in the Auburn Community Festival. “I enjoy the festival immensely,” he said. “Anything I can do to contribute to that and have fun myself, it’s a win-win deal.” Reach Loryll Nicolaisen at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com. __________ Auburn Community Festival When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 Where: Auburn Recreation Park, 123 Recreation Drive Cost: Free admission Information: www.auburncommunityfestival.com