Scarecrow Fest to feature 'Taste of St. Charles,' bike ride fundraiser
Crafts, bike rides and tastings from local restaurants are among the highlights of this weekend's Scarecrow Fest in St. Charles. But at the center of it all, organizers say the main attraction remains the same as when the event started 33 years ago.
Scarecrows of various shapes, sizes and themes will be featured Friday through Sunday, Oct. 5-7, at Lincoln Park, off Main Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. The artistic displays have been attracting visitors to downtown St. Charles since 1985, when the fest started with only a handful of contest entries, said Lynne Schwartz, marketing manager for the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In the last three decades, the event has developed into a nationally recognized festival featuring about 100 entries and drawing roughly 100,000 people each year. Stations also are set up to allow families to make their own scarecrows.
"That's really what started it all, and it's so popular," Schwartz said. "It's always amazing to see the creativity that goes into each entry."
Returning from hiatus this year is the Taste of St. Charles, in which local restaurants will have signature menu items available for purchase throughout the festival, Schwartz said. Participating establishments include The Grandstander, Brunch Cafe, La Huerta Grill, The Finery & Blacksmith Bar, Francesca's, and Rox City Grill.
"People always like to get a local flavor for the food that's here," she said. "It gives people other options rather than traditional fair food."
Additionally, cyclists can participate in a 60- or 100-kilometer bike ride Sunday morning to raise money for Cal's Angels, a St. Charles-based pediatric cancer foundation that grants wishes, raises awareness and supports research. The W.A.R. on Wheels Scarecrow Ride, sponsored by Sammy's Bikes, begins at 8 a.m. in front of the bike shop at 602 S. First St.
This year's Scarecrow Festival schedule also includes carnival rides, live entertainment and the Autumn on the Fox Art and Craft Show in Pottawatomie Park.
"(The event) really showcases our beautiful city," Schwartz said, pointing to its location throughout the downtown and along the Fox River. "Obviously our businesses benefit from the influx of people that come as well."
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free shuttles will be available to take visitors to and from designated parking lots, Schwartz said, and trolleys will transport crowds around the festival.
For more information, visit www.scarecrowfest.com.
St. Charles Scarecrow FestWhat: 33rd annual festival
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5-6, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7
Where: Various locations in downtown St. Charles with Q Center's Main Stage in Lincoln Park, Arcada Theatre Stage on Riverside Avenue, Old St. Charles Stage, off Third Street, and annual craft fair in Pottawatomie Park
Details: scarecrowfest.com for festival maps.