Staff Report

Santa Ynez Valley merchants will welcome the fall season with their annual Scarecrow Fest and contest on Sunday, Oct. 1, with residents and tourists invited to vote on their favorite creations.

This year’s contest, sponsored in part by Visit Santa Ynez Valley, will for the fifth time include the valley communities of Ballard, Buellton and Los Olivos, as well as Solvang, the town that started the Scarecrow Fest.

The month-long festival will run through Oct. 31, during which time visitors and residents are encouraged to play, stay and enjoy the scarecrow sights and many community events.

Those events include the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Celebration of Harvest weekend, Sept. 29-Oct. 2; Solvang 3rd Wednesday Wine & Beer Walk, Oct. 18; and Real Men Cook, Oct. 21.

In addition, Halloween events include the 24th annual Halloween Haunted House and Street Fest in Solvang, Oct. 30-31; Santa Ynez Halloween Street Faire, Oct. 31; and the Ballard Inn Haunted House, Oct. 31.

The season also includes an all-out “country living” festival with Los Olivos’ 38th annual “Day in the Country,” Oct. 21; and a fantasy-filled weekend when the Solvang Faeriefest comes to the Solvang Festival Theater on Oct. 14-15.

Organizers expect nearly 200 scarecrows to compete for the public’s votes in this year’s contest.

The scarecrows, crafted by local businesses, individuals and school organizations, will be showcased throughout the valley in Solvang, Ballard, Los Olivos and Buellton. The winning scarecrows from each town will be eligible for the “2017 Harvest Cup: Best in the Valley” title and trophy, which will be announced at a mid-November ceremony in Buellton.

The Home Connection in Solvang won the 2016 Harvest Cup for their scarecrow entry, titled “Succulent Sam.”

Each of the participating towns holds its own Scarecrow Fest and associated contest to select a winner that will represent each town in the quest for the valley-wide Harvest Cup trophy.

The Valley’s first Scarecrow Fest was held in Solvang in 2010, initiated by the Solvang 3rd Wednesday committee.

For more information, go to or follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Scarecrow voters and visitors are encouraged to use the hashtag #syvscarecrows in on-line discussions of the SYV Scarecrow Fest.

For more information, contact Anna Ferguson-Sparks at 1-877-327-2656 or