From the Whimsical to the macabre: Creative KP Farm Tour Sentinels are back

Kathy Lyons' "Hay Bale Square Pants" won the individual category.
Kathy Lyons’ “Hay Bale Square Pants” won the individual category.
The Friends of the Library's sentinel "Book woman" won best group.
The Friends of the Library’s sentinel “Book Skirt Lady” won best group.

Sometimes silly just works.

Look at the 18 artsy sentinels now standing along the Key Peninsula Highway in Key Center.

This is no beauty contest.

This is for bragging rights to the scariest and funniest scarecrow.

And the winners are: “Hay Bale, Smart Pants” by Kathy Lyons in the individual category, “Book Skirt Lady” by the Friends of the Library in the group category, and “Hare Cut” by Shear Magic beauty salon in the business category.

The winners all receive $50.

“I’m so excited about these artistic creations,” said Carolyn Wiley, president of this year’s KP Farm Tour.

"Hare Cut" by Shear Magic beauty salon won in the business category.
“Hare Cut” by Shear Magic beauty salon won in the business category.

The idea behind the contest is to herald the farm tour on the Key Peninsula, which will be held Saturday Oct. 4. The tour includes six working farms and six businesses, clubs and agencies that will showcase life on this rural peninsula. There will be arts exhibits, farm demonstrations and food on the tour.

“It is a great opportunity to tell people of this free family-friendly event,” Wiley said.

It also gives visitors a window into the creative minds of the people who live here, said Kathy Barrett, of the Two Waters Arts Alliance who managed the contest this year.

“What it says is that the people of this community have the spirit of whimsy, of fun, a willingness to be silly,” Barret said. “Watching the reaction from the community has been amazing.”

The scarecrow designs range from the whimsical to the macabre. The barber shop’s entry titled “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” depicting a patron with his head sliced off, is a good example of the latter.

“It is supposed to hang by a straw,” Wiley said, “but people keep trying to put it back on.”

The barber shop's macabre entry of a headless patron draws stares and chuckles.
The barber shop’s macabre entry of a headless patron titled “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” draws stares and chuckles.

This is the second year the scarecrow contest has been associated with the farm tour.

According to Wiley, the idea of a scarecrow contest was “just a funny idea” from a friend. Then the idea took a life of its own.

“Hey, scarecrow contest. That goes really well with farm tour,” Wiley said.

That was last year.

This year’s theme is “Go’in on the KP Farm Tour.”

According to the Arts Alliance website the requirements are simple: Scarecrows must be able to sit or stand on its own and its construction must be sturdy to withstand whatever the weather has to offer. The only restrictions were for the designs to refrain from religious, political or controversial topics.

“Scarecrows must be in good taste,” according to the web site

The contest was judged by Bill Trandum, president of the Key Pen Parks board, Danna Webster, president of the Key Peninsula Community Council, and Barbara Heard, manager of Sound Credit Union at Key Center and member of the Key Peninsula Business Association.

Barrett said she had fun watching people from the community get involved.

“This was just a fun, team-building effort,” she said. “It was contagious. As people saw scarecrows go up, they would say ‘I want to do it too’.”

This has been so much fun, she said, “we’re thinking about next year already.”

“Let’s make it even sillier,” she adds.

For more photos of scarecrow contest entries, go here

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