By Logan Vincent
Every year in Johnson County autumn comes and paints the mountainsides. The leaves begin to change to new shades of gold, red, and brown and the air begins to blow cooler as the days grow short. Orange, yellow and crimson mums pop up all over as people decorate for the fall season. It is a unique and beautiful time in the mountains of East Tennessee.
In years past Johnson County has developed a new tradition for the fall season. Take a drive down Main Street on a calm afternoon in early October and you will find exhibits of a most unusual kind. Scarecrows of all shapes, sizes, and fantasies stand tall in front of the many light poles and businesses that line Mountain Citys main stretch.
Scarecrows on Main is the annual event to which we can attribute these exhibits that have provided us with such joy and wonder in the past. For years the tradition has been upheld as a great way for local businesses to promote themselves as well as be creative and fun by building and entering a unique scarecrow of their own. Local churches join in the fun by entering their own vision, as a means of gathering awareness of their church and also simply to provide youth groups and members a unique project for the holidays.
Applying to enter a scarecrow in the competition is the first step to join the excitement. Applications are available at Mountain City City Hall, the Mountain City Welcome Center, and Mountain City Antiques. Once completed, the applications can be returned at these same locations. All entries are based upon time and date preference. This means that a requested location on Main Street is first-come first-serve so Scarecrows on Main officials suggest applying as soon as possible for requested areas.
All entries to the Scarecrows on Main contest are required to pay a $30 entry fee. This fee covers a spot on Main Street, two hay bales, two mums, and pumpkins as props for your exhibit. All scarecrows entered are to be tasteful and free of violence or prejudice in any way. Religious affiliated content is acceptable as long as it follows the previously mentioned guidelines.
All applications for the Scarecrows on Main competition are to be submitted no later than 5:00pm on Friday, September 27th. The following Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of the 28th, 29th, and 30th are the accepted days for applicants to set up their exhibits. On Monday, September 30th Bob Eller and the city worker crew will be available to provide any assistance needed when setting up.
The contest lasts from October 1st to October 31st, and judging will take place on October 9th. Confirmed judges will include: Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, State Representative Timothy Hill, and president of Milligan College, Dr. Bill Greer. Officials report that these judges will ensure a high standard of quality in whatever exhibits they nominate, so they urge all participants to work hard and show off their talent.
1st place winner will be awarded $150, second $100, and third place will win $50. The peoples choice contest winner will be decided on October 8th. All who wish to cast their vote must go to Mountain City Antiques where a ballot box will be provided. Signs will be placed beneath the exhibits proclaiming what position they have been awarded, providing a few lucky contestants some hard earned bragging rights.
The Scarecrows on Main is sponsored by the Mountain City Chamber of Commerce and has been made possible through the vision and hard work of Evelyn Cook and Romayne St. John who have supported the contest since the beginning. Both will be present on October 9th to host the visiting judges and enjoy the competition with the rest of Mountain City.
The Scarecrows on Main competition is a great tradition and one of the many things that contributes to Mountain Citys unique identity in our region. The main goal of the competition is simply to provide local residents and organizations a fun and exciting project to further enhance the excitement of the season. Main Street is only so large though and only 27 spots are available, so please hurry and join in the local fun and tradition by submitting your application and start building your scarecrow.
For any additional information please contact Karla Prudhomme at 202-4386.
By Logan Vincent