Branchville preparing for scarecrow contest


Posted: Oct. 8, 2018 12:01 am

BRANCHVILLE — Borough residents and businesses alike are gearing up for the third annual Branchville Scarecrow Contest, which organizers expect to be bigger and better than ever before.

Sponsored by the Branchville Borough Historical Society and Broad Street Books, the contest allows participants a chance to show off their creative side as they design elaborate scenes around pumpkin-headed scarecrows placed in their yards. Historical Society President Jeanne Heinke brought the event to Branchville three years ago after seeing similar decorations during a trip to Massachusetts, and she and her husband Brad have seen interest from the community grow each year.

“Almost everybody in town is talking to us about what they’re putting up,” Heinke said, though she noted that many residents are being secretive about this year’s creations.

Participants in the contest must use a real pumpkin for the scarecrow’s head, and the majority make use of frames designed by Brad Heinke to help support their structures. Displays from last year included tributes to musicians such as Elvis Presley and KISS, as well as scenes from “E.T.,” “A Christmas Story,” “101 Dalmatians” and other classic movies.

Businesses like Johnny’s Barber Shop, located on Main Street, and Broad Street Books are already showing off their designs of Winnie the Pooh and King Kong, respectively. Heinke noted, however, that borough merchants are not eligible for any awards and are only competing for “bragging rights.”

On Oct. 28, the three judges of this year’s contest — artist Ricky Boscarino, of Luna Parc; Amy Bridge, publisher of the Journal Group; and Jim Heigis, deputy mayor of Walpack and owner of the Walpack Inn — will take a tour of Branchville and choose their favorite displays. The results will be announced three days later on Halloween at the Branchville Businessman’s Parade.

Cash prizes, amounts still to be determined, will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place recipients as well as the people’s choice winner among residents, Heinke said. One business will also be named a people’s choice winner, while those named honorable mention will get certificates.

Heinke said the “prime viewing” for the scarecrows should be in the last two weeks of October as more participants finish up their creations. In the meantime, she is grateful for the many donors, both merchants and private citizens, as well as the Borough Council for supporting the contest.

“I just want to thank everybody getting behind it because it’s so great,” Heinke said. “It seems like something that makes everyone happy.”

For more information on the Branchville Scarecrow Contest, visit Facebook.com/BranchvilleArtsWalk or Facebook.com/BroadStreetBooksNJ.

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