A trip to the Atlanta Botanical Garden offers acres and acres of beautiful plant and flower collections. It’s known for its stunning exhibitions and walking trails. But every October, it’s also home to dozens of scarecrows.
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Each fall, plenty of people make their way to the attraction to gaze at about 100 handcrafted straw figures on display for Scarecrows in the Garden. The annual event, which runs through the month of October, is returning for the 18th year to help usher in the Halloween season.
“Scarecrows is great family fun,” said Jim Smith, senior horticulturist at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. “We always look forward to seeing what everybody comes up with. That’s a part of the adventure.”
The “kooky, creative” scarecrows are designed by businesses, individuals, schools and organizations that submitted their creations for approval earlier this month. But the scarecrows won’t just be paraded around for show and tell. They’ll also be competing for prizes in one of two categories — professional and nonprofessional. Professional represents anyone on the scarecrow team who is compensated for their art or design services. The winners are announced the first week of the show.
From bottle caps and cans to plastic bags and cardboards, the scarecrows often have social messages promoting conservation.
“We see all kinds of materials,” Smith laughed. “We get a lot of rubber, papier-mache, plastic cups and plates, and dummies to make the people. We’ve even once had scarecrows made out of clothesline pins. Anything you can imagine, we see it.”
While there is generally no set theme for the nearly monthlong affair, many of the artworks give nods to popular movies or moments in history.
“We get some that are serious scarecrows and some that are goofy,” Smith explained. “I’m not sure what we’ll get this year, but a few years ago, we had so many ‘Frozen’ scarecrows from the film. And we always typically get a Jack Skellington. Seeing the creativity is the best part about Scarecrows.”
Thinking of making your way to the showcase for a fright? Trek through the Southern Seasons and Children’s Gardens of the Atlanta Botanical Garden to take in all of the originality. Pick out your favorites and find out which scarecrows the judges found most impressive.
“If you don’t already have a family tradition that goes along with fall, this is a great place to start one,” Smith said. “We hope people leave and feel motivated to go home and make a scarecrow for their yard. It’s all about spending time with your loved ones, being inspired and having fun.”
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Scarecrows in the Garden
Oct 2-31. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. Free with general admission ticket, adults $21.95, children ages 3-12 $18.95. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave, Atlanta. 404-876-5859, atlantabg.org.