What better way to spend your third birthday than checking out all kinds of creative and intricately built scarecrows?
That's probably what twins Brynn and Grady would have said, had they not been too busy staring -- mouths agape -- at moving scarecrow cheerleaders on Saturday at Scarecrow Fest in downtown St. Charles.
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"We had a big party for them last weekend and we're here to have a nice birthday morning," said Mary Ann Carlson of St. Charles, the twins' grandmother. "It was really crowded last year. We got here early this year so we could see everything."
Thousands of people milled about downtown St. Charles for the festival, as well as the Fox Art and Craft Show, which featured about 170 booths on the other side of the Fox River.
Dozens of scarecrows were entered into a contest divided into in six categories: mechanical, traditional, whimsical, business, family, and children's clubs and organizations.
Some of the mechanical scarecrows were outstanding, said Joy-Ann Leonard, who came to the festival with her son, Ron, and his wife, Jennifer, of Schaumburg, plus their aunt.
"The animatronics in "The Munsters" are really good," she said about the creepy scene depicting Herman on a dentist's chair about to fall prey to Grandpa Munster.
She also really liked a "Wizard of Oz" scarecrow on a bike, she said. "The eyes move, which is amazing."
Nine-year-old Samantha Glowacki of Chicago was happy to make her first scarecrow with an old pair of her jeans and a shirt she got on the spot. Samantha came with her mother, Nicole Glowacki, and her grandmother Susan Torguson, who recently moved from Texas and is considering settling in St. Charles.
"We're going to put it in our front yard. I'm going to draw a face on it, put brown string for hair, and put a headband on it," Samantha said.
Samantha said she also liked the carnival and the petting zoo -- especially the rabbit -- while her mother said she enjoyed the craft show.