Hay Wine Country! It’s Nearly Scarecrow Time

The hay-happiest sign of fall makes a big showing around the Santa Ynez Valley.

Tenley Fohl

AUTUMN IN WINE COUNTRY: Vines and golden leaves and fully ripe grapes and crush-oriented happenings and mellow vineyard-close picnics are oft-cited symbols of October around wine country, and for fine reason: That's very often what one sees there during that soft-sunshine-y stretch of the year. But should you show up in the Santa Ynez Valley from the second week of October through the second week of November, a sight that's seen well beyond wine country may capture your fancy: scarecrows. Make that lots of scarecrows, in all the various shapes/sizes/states of dress, in front of all sorts of businesses, from Buellton to Solvang to Los Olivos. It's the Annual Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest, a picture-worthy, multi-week happening set to coincide "with the start of the Santa Barbara Wine Country's 'Celebration of Harvest Weekend' event." The list of participating towns is a who's who -- or a where's where, rather -- of the SYV: Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang" will be scarecrowing up various streets and doorways during the fall-sweet run. And these aren't just traditional scarecrows, as seen in "The Wizard of Oz," but hat-topped figures of a humorous and topical and offbeat bent. There is, in fact, a contest on covering several scarecrow-themed categories, categories visitors can vote on. Everything kicks off on...

OCT. 9, 2015... and runs through Nov. 9. Yes, if you're in the area on Halloween, you'll see plenty of scarecrow action (always something that stokes the Halloween spirit), and, yes, you'll see many scarecrows. There shall be over 200 scarecrows dotting the valley, and they're all free to see. Further, each participating town does its own scarecrow party along the way, too. It's big times and quite serious stuff, all, of course, in good fun. Want to find out where to go and all of the voting, hay-filled haps? You can right here. Wondering if the scarecrows of the SYV have their own Instagram page? Why of course they do.

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