Staff Report

During the month-long Scarecrow Fest, which runs from Oct. 1 and concludes on Halloween Oct. 31, Santa Ynez Valley businesses and organizations will participate in the contest by featuring a scarecrow of their own creation posted at their location, all while maintaining COVID-19 protocols.

Locals, tourists and area merchants will vote via the “Fest” website,, and focus on maintaining COVID-19 guidelines during this year’s festival. Scarecrow winners will be awarded in six different categories: Best Scarecrow Photo Op, Best Use of Recycled Materials, Best Use of Business Theme, Spookiest, Most Humorous and others. Scarecrow Maps will be available on the website, to direct voters to each of the contest’s scarecrows.

Once a Best Scarecrow winner has been chosen from each township, it will be entered into the Santa Ynez Valley-wide competition with the scarecrow winners to determine the Valley’s Best Scarecrow. The ultimate winner will be announced and celebrated virtually. The overall winner will receive the contest’s exclusive, handcrafted trophy, the Harvest Cup, to keep on display in their town until the conclusion of the following year’s contest.

The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, a Buellton hospitality business, was awarded the 2019 Harvest Cup.

“This is the eighth year that the [Scarecrow] contest is going Valley-wide, and the other Santa Ynez Valley towns have definitely embraced the ‘Fest.’” said Tracy Beard, executive director of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, who is heading up the 2020 Solvang Scarecrow Fest coordination and organization, while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all to enjoy during this time. “The more that each town gets into this, the better the experience for both our locals and visitors — whose community involvement and visits, respectively, benefit the local economy of the entire Valley.” 

The six different Solvang Scarecrow Fest voting categories mentioned above were selected through a conscious effort to nurture friendly competition and community among Solvang locals, to highlight the unique traits that Solvang possesses and to encourage mindful, eco-conscious creativity. Past years’ Scarecrow Fests have received far-reaching publicity, with visitors coming from as far away as Alaska. 

Scarecrow Fest was originally started to drive business to each of the participating companies, storefronts, merchants and organizations, as well as to the town and the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley locales.

Businesses and organizations throughout Solvang are invited to participate in the Scarecrow Fest and Contest; participation in the contest is $25. Entry forms for the 2020 Solvang Scarecrow Fest need to be returned by Thursday, Sept. 17, for participating scarecrows to be included on the map.

Questions about the 2020 Solvang Scarecrow Fest plans may be directed to the Solvang Chamber at The Chamber can also provide prospective participants with further contest details, participant entry forms, and a “Scarecrow Tips & Tricks” document. Updated information about this year’s Solvang Scarecrow Fest will continue to be posted at