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Community Display
September 19 – October 31


To participate in Cheekwood’s beloved Scarecrows display, please complete this form and return it to the contact listed below. Registration forms are due by August 21, 2015, and are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Submission of the form confirms you have read and agree to the dates and guidelines below.


  • This is a family-friendly display. Scarecrows in poor taste, reflecting controversial social or political situations, or containing overly commercial or promotional subject matter will not be accepted.
  • The display will be located in and around the Turner Seasons Garden. (Click here for a map of Cheekwood) Cheekwood will determine the best location for all entries and assist with installation.
  • All scarecrows will be displayed outdoors for 45 days, so design materials must be as weatherproof as possible. Cheekwood reserves the right to remove any scarecrow which has deteriorated to an unacceptable level during that period.
  • Do NOT include live plant material, straw, hay, or mulch as part of your display. See below for helpful hints and tips on making your scarecrow.
  • Cheekwood will provide participants with a framework to construct their scarecrow.
    Click here
    for a frame diagram.
  • Cheekwood will provide signage identifying participant name/organization and the name of each scarecrow. The Title Form is due to back to Cheekwood by Friday, September 4. Please do not include any additional flyers or signage with your scarecrow.
  • Cheekwood is not responsible for any loss or damage to the entries.
  • Cheekwood reserves the right to use photographs, contact names, and scarecrow names for publicity purposes.


  • Use weather-resitant materials. Nylon and polyester fabrics hold up better and fade less than cotton. Adhesive materials used should also be weather-durable and long lasting.
  • Spray Scotchguard on the inside and outside of any cloth to prevent mildew.
  • Stuffing can be made from many materials, but plastic bags, bubble wrap, and plastic bags stuffed with newspaper work well. Water-soluable peanuts and raw newspaper deteriorate quickly.
  • Ideas for hair and head: stuffed pillow cases, gourds, milk jugs, pots, balls, yarn, shredded plastic, raffia, etc.
  • Do not use latex gloves. They quickly disintegrate outdoors.
  • All materials should be strongly secured to the frame. Sewing works best, but large safety pins or staples work as well. Most adhesives cannot withstand the outdoor conditions.
  • Recommended Reading - Scarecrows: Making Harvest Figures and Other Yard Folks by Felder Rushing

Questions? Contact…
Megan Hardgrave, Public Programs Manager | 615-353-6986


For the Birds
Hungry birds have always been a problem for farmers. Birds, such as crows, sometimes ate so much corn or wheat that farmers did not have enough food to last through the winter. So, for more than 3,000 years, farmers have been making scarecrows. As long as birds are hungry, farmers will still look for ways to SCARE CROWS!

While we know our straw-filled friends as scarecrows, the protective characters have many different names. In Britain, they are called mommets, tattie bogies and hodmedods. Other places around the world scarecrows are known as jack-of-straws, scarebirds, and shoy-hoys. 

Scarecrow Stories

The scarecrow is one of the most familiar figures of the rural landscape not only in the United States but throughout the world. His ragged figure has been recorded in rural history for centuries. We think of scarecrows as human-like figures stuffed with straw, but farmers have invented many different “scarecrows” to protect their crops over the years.

The first scarecrows in recorded history were placed along the Nile River to protect wheat fields from flocks of quail. Egyptian farmers covered wooden frames with fishing nets. The farmers hid in the fields and scared the quail into the nets.

Japanese farmers also began making scarecrows to protect their rice fields. The farmers hung old rags, meat, and fish bones from bamboo poles in their fields and then set them on fire. The smell was so bad that birds, and all other living creatures, stayed far away from the crops. The Japanese farmers called their scarecrows kakashis, which literally means something that smells bad.

In Medieval Britain, their scarecrows weren’t made from wood or bamboo, but were live boys and girls. Known as bird scarers or bird shooers, they patrolled wheat fields carrying bags of stones. If crows landed in the fields, they would chase them off by waving their arms and throwing the stones.





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