Autumn Fun

Scarecrows Are Sprouting Around Santa Ynez Valley

Almost 100 fanciful fall figures can be found in outdoor settings around several wine country towns.

Scarecrow Fest

HALLOWEEN EVENTS? They've changed in 2020, understandably, all to give visitors a way to enjoy an eerie atmosphere in a safe and spacious way. The pandemic response has also transformed how we approach autumnal activities, the earlier-in-October goings-on, though not entirely. For season-focused happenings often happen outside, where we can stay physically distanced and out in the fresh air. And a figure that is famous for its traditional open-air placement? It's the scarecrow, an autumn icon that is often found in fields of corn and other agricultural-close spots. But come October? You just might see these symbols adding charm to front yards and businesses, too. And if you're in the...

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY? You're apt to see scarecrows in lots of different spots, thanks to the annual Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest. It's returning in 2020, for its eighth outing, with "upwards of 100 scarecrows" set to pop up around Solvang, Buellton, Ballard, Los Olivos, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez. "Each of the Santa Ynez Valley towns holds their own, individual Scarecrow Fest and associated Contest; the rules vary slightly from town to town, but all have the ultimate goal of appointing a 'Best Scarecrow' to represent each respective town in the quest for the Valley-wide Harvest Cup trophy," shared a statement on the celebration.

THE SOLVANG CONTEST? It has its own online voting form, if you'd like to pick the best scarecrow seen in the windmill-laden village. For more on this free, go-at-your-own-pace, stay-socially-distanced event, visit the festival page now. And, indeed, the event will add fall-like flavor to the SYV throughout the month of October, meaning scarecrow mavens can drive through the area at any point from Oct. 1-31. As always, do check California travel alerts before heading out on the road, and don't forget your camera and your enduring devotion to sweet, timeless, and free fall traditions.

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