Scarecrow Fest is a signature St. Charles event with global appeal. And this year, organizers are giving attendees even more of the facets they've enjoyed the most.
The Scarecrow Contest will feature more than 100 entries by families, individuals, clubs and businesses. Entries will be awarded in seven categories for the first time, allowing for more chances at scarecrow glory.
Fest attendees swept up by the scarecrow fun will also have two locations, instead of one, to make their own scarecrows.
Also new this year is a vintage auto display by the Baltria Vintage Auto Gallery. The gallery is also sponsoring professionally carved pumpkins to get the creative juices flowing in tune with the Autumn on the Fox Arts & Crafts Show. The show will feature handmade goods from more than 150 exhibitors.
Kids can get in on the fun with a children's craft event, a petting zoo and a performance by Glowby the Bubbler, who creates bubbles of a variety of sizes. Jewel-Osco is also sponsoring a pumpkin-decorating area for kids with chances to win prizes.
The Arcada Theatre will supply musical acts in tune with its 90th anniversary celebration. Bands include 7th heaven, 97 Nine and Billy Elton. Attendees also have a chance for a rare musical treat at the theater itself when musical legend Buddy Guy performs live at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8.
The festival brings about $6 million worth of tourism to St. Charles, according to the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The bureau's associate director, DeAnn Wagner, said nearly one-third of last year's attendees had never been to St. Charles before. Attendees came from four different countries, 17 states and 132 different Illinois communities. Those numbers show the wide the appeal the Scarecrow Fest has achieved.
"Scarecrow Fest has been a wonderful tool to introduce people to St. Charles and the wonderful community that it is," Wagner said. "With so many new visitors to the community, we want to give them reasons to come back again and again."
TopGolf will add another new reason to come back with a golf game simulator offering a chance to win prizes. The Fox Valley Ice Arena will sponsor a special challenge and photo op area for attendees who want to share the day on social media. Miss Illinois is also expected to make an appearance.
The fest runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 7-9, in St. Charles. Admission and parking are free. There will be a shuttle that runs from The Quad (Charlestowne Mall) to the fest. For details, visit www.scarecrowfest.com.