The Scarecrow Extravaganza returns to Wicker Park for Halloween fun

Date: 
09/26/2020
LisaWronskiScareCrow

Design by Lisa Wronski

Designed to be a fun way to celebrate Halloween, with social distancing and other restrictions amid a pandemic, the Scarecrow Extravaganza returns to Wicker Park on Oct. 10. 

A collaboration between the Wicker Park Committee (WPC) and the Wicker Park Advisory Council (WPAC), in cooperation with the Chicago Parks District, this fundraising event will give kids of all ages a chance to create a one-of-a-kind scarecrow. Then they can put its location on a map so others may visit! 

With 12 groups each hour, 12 groups begin every hour from 9 a.m. to  4 p.m. to make one scarecrow per group per hour. These creations may be taken home, displayed at a local business or taken to a special location, then placed on a digital map. 

Each group will be provided scarecrow structure and stuffing materials:

  • parts for a wooden cross shaped frame 

(Note to the group's construction crew. Materials: one (1) 8ft (2in X2in board) tall, tapered so that it can easily be pushed into the ground; one (1) 5ft (2in X 2in) board for the arms to be attached 1ft down from the top of the 8ft board. Winged nut can be used to secure the 8ft and 5ft pieces together.)

The one foot above the cross bar can to be used to attach the head. 

  • straw to fill the scarecrow's clothes
  • twine to tie the clothing so that it holds the straw in place
  • a 10 foot square area to work, ten feet away from any other group for one hour 
    Farmer Crow

    The perfect farmer scarecrow from 2010

What must the group bring?
Even before Oct. 10, each group may be planning their extravaganza creation. Once the "look" is determined, the real fun begins. 

Gather the perfect outfit….pants, skirt, overhauls, dress, pajamas, whatever. Then go bonkers finding accessories like a hat, scarf, gloves a purse, corncob pipe…or other accoutrement. 

To top off the perfect creation, you will need a head! What do you want the head to look like? Will a burlap bag be the perfect canvas or would panty hose be better than a pillowcase or…? 

A-CowGirl

"When ya ride alot ya git a little bow legged!"

Remember that you need the outfit to include things to stuff for the arms, legs, body and head. 

Pack up your Scarecrow materials in a bag or box and be sure to include pairs of scissors, Magic Markers long before your creation time. Then your hour-long creation time in Wicker Park can be focused on your ingenuity and fun. 

Since the opportunity window to have a group will be closing on Oct. 7, it is important to get your group of no more than six people ready to sign up on the website. This fundraising event for WPC and WPAC is $40 per group. 

Scarecrow Extravaganza's Origins
On one of their occasional escapes out of the City for a change of scenery, Andrew Wozniak and his wife Rebecca Wright found a pumpkin festival where they were building scarecrows in 2007. 

"This is it…it is fun…it is family oriented…it is so Wicker Park…we've got to do this," said Andrew Wozniak with great enthusiasm.

ExtravMtg2020

Rebecca Wright, Leah Root, Starr Spencer and Doug Wood discussed the past and future of the Scarecrow Extravaganza

"He had the sales pitch and I started working on how we were going to get it done," explained Rebecca a couple of weeks ago. She took time to give encouragement to WPC's Leah Root and WPAC's Doug Wood.

That idea and determination turned into reality in 2008 for the first Scarecrow Extravaganza. 

(Author's Note: As President of the Wicker Park Committee that year, it was exciting to have another way to engage residents and businesses in a fun community event. The "crows" remained in the lawn around A. N. Pritzker school to and beyond Halloween.)

WozniakFamily

Andrew Wozniak, Rebecca Wright and son Remi in 2010

By 2010 the event was perfected as can be seen in this story

The reimaging of the Scarecrow Extravaganza this year is particularly poignant. Rebecca's recent return from the Denver area was to hold a memorial celebration of Andrew who passed away earlier this year.

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