Main Street officially turns into Scarecrow Street this weekend, as a record number of scarecrows takes up residence there.
This is the seventh consecutive year for the popular Scarecrow Festival, which features the largest number of decorated scarecrows ever — 90 of the stuffed figures.
Schools, local businesses, community groups and families buy scarecrow kits containing all the fixin's, including wood and hay, for $30 and make their own personalized scarecrow. They can keep or sell the scarecrow as a way to raise money for the festival's host, the Andover Coalition for Education (ACE).
The festival opens Saturday, Oct. 19, and closes Sunday, Nov. 3.
The theme for this year’s festival is centered around favorite children's books. The theme was inspired by the school district’s comprehensive plan to expand the diverse array of children’s literature in school libraries. Participants are encouraged to create a scarecrow that represents a favorite book, character or message depicted through the story.
“This is a wonderful Andover community event that continues to grow every year,'' said Lenore Price, president of ACE. "We are thrilled to have so many sponsors and community groups participate with us once again to celebrate our schools and bring a festive fall excitement to downtown Andover,”
ACE is celebrating more than 10 years of support for Andover public schools through private funding of major, multi-year, curriculum-enhancing projects at all grade levels. ACE works to improve the educational experience of students through a variety of programs for kindergarten through grade 12.
Price said ACE sponsors have already raised $14,000 for Andover public schools through the festival.
In addition, there will be a Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt during the festival to encourage families to visit all the scarecrows and find hidden items as part of the fun. The Andover Bookstore is teaming up with ACE to distribute the scavenger forms and prizes for participants.
ACE will once again host a poetry event on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Memorial Hall Library from 4 to 5 p.m. Students are encouraged to write an original poem or read one of their a favorite poems.
Andover Youth Services will assemble the stakes that support the scarecrows.
To learn more about ACE, visit www.aceandover.org.