Scarecrows bring fall color to Heritage Garden

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 23, 2017

 Agnes Bajorek, of Shelby Township, poses for a photo with her son, Julian; her daughter, Elise; and the ghost scarecrow created by the Shelby Gardeners Club in Heritage Garden Oct. 19.

Agnes Bajorek, of Shelby Township, poses for a photo with her son, Julian; her daughter, Elise; and the ghost scarecrow created by the Shelby Gardeners Club in Heritage Garden Oct. 19.

Photo provided by Ivy Schwartz

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — For the third year, the Shelby Gardeners Club installed fun and spooky scarecrows throughout Heritage Garden, located next to the Shelby Township municipal building.

This year, a cowboy, a couple of witches, a ghost, a gardener and a sleepy scarecrow greet families and groups who venture out to the landscaped park area.

“We like to make them for the community, especially for the children, because the children just love looking at them with a sense of awe,” said club member Linda Wojtowicz. “It’s the Halloween sense of October excitement.”

Wojtowicz said the scarecrows are larger than life, so the five-person committee made sure to design the scarecrows around familiar figures — nothing too scary.

“Adults like them too. It brings back their familiar childhood memories of happiness, and that’s what Shelby Gardeners is all about — spreading happiness to children and adults alike,” she said.

Project leader Karen McCuen said the club received such a positive response from the community the first year that it has made the scarecrows an annual tradition.

The first year featured a bride and groom, since the location is a popular wedding destination, McCuen said, as well as scarecrows based off the farm couple in the “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood.

The theme for the second year, she said, was Disney, and included characters such as Tinker Bell, Snow White, Minnie Mouse and Captain Hook.

McCuen said the club reuses classic wooden T-frames, but instead of stuffing the whole scarecrow with straw, volunteers use plastic bags and empty water bottles.

“They don’t get all stinky and smelly and moldy from being out in the weather, plus (straw gets) extremely heavy,” she said. “This way, they stay cleaner, and we just add the straw and raffia where it adds to the look of the scarecrow.”

She said club members try to get together to assemble the scarecrows in her basement in September and have them installed in Heritage Park by October. The scarecrows and the fairy garden give people something colorful to look at when the flowers have faded, she said.

For more information about the Shelby Gardeners Club, call Ivy Schwartz at (586) 873-3782 or visit www.shelbytwp.org/gardeners.

Heritage Park is located adjacent to the Shelby Township municipal building, 52700 Van Dyke Ave., south of 24 Mile Road.