27 August 2021

Hay, dads! There's a scarecrow competition to celebrate Father's Day

| James Coleman
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A scarecrow

Participants in a local scarecrow competition are encouraged to factor in the Floriade theme for this year: ‘The Future of Flowers’. Photo: Eric Deeran.

Father’s Day is just around the corner and needless to say it will be looking different for the ACT this year. Scarier and itchier in particular.

The Weston Creek Community Council is calling on Canberrans to build scarecrows in their front yards as a way to celebrate all the dads who are outstanding in their field, for Father’s Day on Sunday, 5 September.

There’s quite a lot at stake, too. Pictures will be posted online and the community will vote for a winner.

The idea originates from the Floriade Community Patch, which saw locals creating straw men for display at Canberra’s annual flower show. The return of COVID-19 to the ACT has knocked back plans for Floriade for the second time, but Community Patch organiser Simone Hunter has quickly pivoted to a new way of keeping the scarecrows alive.

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Simone wanted to involve the local community in a stay-at-home online activity while also giving children the chance to do something a little different and fun for their dads this year.

“It’s a great distraction for kids,” says Weston Creek Community Council interim chair Bill Gemmel.

“It’s a really good opportunity to connect people in what is otherwise a pretty average time just now. It’s a really simple activity for anyone in our community.

“It’s fun and lighthearted – just what we all need.”

Scarecrows in garden

What do you call a gathering of scarecrows? Photo: Weston Creek Community Council.

Participants are being challenged to incorporate this year’s Floriade theme of ‘The Future of Flowers’ into their straw creations. This should appeal to fathers who grew up on a diet of Star Trek.

Labor member for Murrumbidgee, Dr Marisa Paterson, is backing the competition and is encouraging participants to “look around their own homes and yards, and to reuse, renew and upcycle materials for their scarecrows”.

“Don’t go out to buy new things,” she says.

Even if you can’t build your own scarecrow, you can still take part in the community judging, which will commence online the day after Father’s Day, on Monday, 6 September, at 10:00 am. This will be open online all week until 8:00 pm on Sunday, 12 September.

“Last year during lockdown we saw things such as the bear hunt popping up in local suburbs,” says Dr Paterson.

“This year, we’re starting to see some Where’s Wally? cutouts. Why not also build a scarecrow?”

Dr Paterson says small and colourful acts are a proven way to keep up morale and build a sense of community cohesion and connectedness, especially during the current challenging times.

A scarecrow

A scarecrow guarding spring’s flowers. Photo: Weston Creek Community Council.

“This is an inclusive community engagement activity for local residents,” she says. “We want people of all ages and backgrounds to feel included and encouraged to participate in this program.

“I’ve never built a scarecrow before, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go in my own front yard with my kids next weekend.”

People are reminded to adhere to ACT Health directions regarding outdoor exercise, and not to leave their local area to view scarecrows. Participants are also asked to remove the scarecrow once the competition is over so it doesn’t interfere with local bird life.

To participate in the competition, post a picture of your scarecrow to your Facebook or Instagram account with the hashtag #CBRScarecrow, or email Dr Paterson at Paterson@parliament.act.gov.au. All images will then be uploaded to the CBR Scarecrows page on Dr Paterson’s website, where the community will be able to vote for their favourite.

The three winners, as voted by the community, will be announced on Tuesday, 14 September, through the campaign webpage and via Dr Paterson’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Let us make hay.

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