After a rainout last year, Wiscasset’s Scarecrowfest is making a big comeback, with not just a one-day event, but a full week of festivities.
Activities started Saturday, Oct. 12 and will conclude Saturday, Oct. 19. Activities on the last day of the festival will take place on the town common instead of the less spacious lawn of the municipal building.
The event is now more than 10 years old. A committee with representatives of the First Congregational Church of Wiscasset, Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce, and Wiscasset Parks and Recreation Department, as well as local business owners, organized the festival this year.
“It seems like it’s more of a community event than just a town event,” Wiscasset Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Thompson said.
Scarecrowfest started Saturday, Oct. 12 with a build-a-scarecrow contest. Scarecrows included a bumblebee, gardener, sailor, and a few skeletons in different costumes, lined up on the town common to greet people coming and going from downtown.
The chamber runs the contest, Thompson said. The winners will be announced on the common Saturday, Oct. 19.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington Railway teamed up with SeaLyon Farm, of Alna, to offer railway pumpkin trains.
Riders could choose different times of day to board a train at Sheepscot Station and ride it to Top of the Mountain Station, behind SeaLyon Farm. From there, they could catch a hayride to the farm stand and pumpkin patch, then return the way they came.
Although the first day was overcast, Marcia Lyons, co-owner of SeaLyon Farm with her husband, Don Lyons, said there were steady visitors to the farm. The second day, she said, well over 100 people came.
Marcia Lyons said the combination of the train ride, hayride, and picking a pumpkin makes the event great.
“The kids just love the train and then you put them on a (hayride) and take them through the mud,” she said. “What more can you ask for?”
When families got to the farm, they could stop by the farm stand for fresh vegetables and shop for jams, jewelry, and handmade products made from yarn.
Creamed Baking Co., of Wiscasset, sold treats and coffee from a stand at the farm.
Families with young children strolled about the pumpkin patch, looking for just the right pumpkin to buy.
For Levi McArthur, picking the pumpkin was his favorite part. “It’s going to be a lot more fun when we get to Papa’s house,” McArthur said.
His grandfather, Paul Rolfe, explained that they were going to carve the pumpkin at his house.
Don Lyon drove his tractor, which pulled the hay wagon. He gave a little tour on the way back to the train station, answering questions about the farm.
There was a short break from events on Monday and Tuesday, but they were scheduled to resume Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the Wiscasset Public Library. The Family Spooks and Screams event was due to start at 5:30 p.m., with scary stories and other free activities.
Thompson’s most anticipated part of the Scarecrowfest is the first chili and chowder challenge, which will take place on the common from 4:30-7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 17.
The event will raise funds to benefit the First Congregational Church’s special needs fund, which helps local families in need of heating assistance, clothing, and other basic necessities.
Entrants need only bring their Crock-Pot of chili or chowder. The rest of the equipment is provided. The winner of the contest will receive a prize.
A pumpkin dessert contest will coincide with the chili and chowder challenge. Thompson said competitors should bring around two to three dozen bite-size portions of their dessert to share.
Proceeds from the dessert contest will go to the Cooper-DiPerri Scholarship Fund, which pays for area children and families to participate in programs offered by Wiscasset Parks and Recreation.
According to Thompson, anyone can participate and the $5 registration per contest can be completed the day of the contest.
“You could get a meal’s worth there,” she said.
After an off day Friday, the final day of the festival will begin with a farmers breakfast at The Morris Farm, by donation, from 8-10:30 a.m.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., back at the town common, there will be more scarecrow building, as well as pumpkin painting, face painting, food, and music by the acoustic guitar duo Rick and the Redhead.
At noon, children can participate in a pumpkin roll at the Wiscasset Public Library. Prizes will be given out for several different categories, such as youngest contestant, longest roll, straightest roll, and craziest roll. Every contestant will get a pumpkin.
“Scarecrowfest is my last day here because I’m leaving, so that’s going to be very bittersweet,” Thompson said of Oct. 19. The Wiscasset Board of Selectmen accepted her resignation Oct. 1.
Every year someone dresses up as a scarecrow; this year it will be Thompson.