Boo-tiful Saturday to add Scarecrow Row to activities

Beth Welbers
David Smith of the Smith Studios introduces scarecrow Vincent VanGhoul.

The beautiful thing about Geneseo is that when the something spoils an event, they think of ways to adapt and still provide an activity.

Coronavirus has put the skids to Boo-tiful Saturday as we know it, but local merchants and the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce have adapted the Saturday Trick-or Treat event to still include the opportunity to go downtown and collect those treats, showing off their costumes at the same time. The Chamber, in partnership with Smith Studio and Gallery, RutagbagA Gallery and Studio, and Bethany Winkleman State Farm Insurance are sponsoring a community wide event called “Scarecrow Row”

The sponsors of this event will be financing and preparing a wooden frame that can be picked up at the Smith Studio and Gallery starting on Saturday, October 10th.  Instructions will be included. Taking the framework home, individuals or families can prepare their own scarecrow to be exhibited in the City Park on the Saturday of Halloween, October 31st.  Businesses, organizations, or individuals are encouraged to prepare their own scarecrow to be exhibited in the City Park.

Scarecrows come to the park on Halloween starting at 10:00-11:00 and they are placed in the flag pole holes of which they are a perfect fit. Then at 11:00-1:00 the children are invited to come to the park in their costumes to see the wonderful Scarecrow Row.  Imagine 30 scarecrows in the park …then imagine 100 scarecrows …or MORE! Unique awards will be given to each participating Scarecrow.  All scarecrows are then to be picked up at 5:00 p.m. to be taken home for further, additional, display.

“The Geneseo Chamber has had to modify almost every one of our events this year.” said Zack Sullivan, Executive Director of the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce. “Scarecrow Row is the result of careful advanced planning, problem solving and collaboration with local businesses to create a new and safe family friendly event this Halloween.”

“The biggest challenge of putting on community events during the pandemic is figuring out how to ‘color inside the lines’ of the Restore Illinois public health guidelines while maintaining the quality of our events.” Sullivan added. “The Geneseo Chamber is always up for the challenge to find new ways to support our local business community however we can during difficult times.”

During the afternoon, kids are invited to come down to the Park in costume and collect their pre-packaged goodie bags. Adults are also encouraged to dress up and accompany them. This can be a great photo opportunity with the Scarecrows.

Kids will NOT be going door to door in the downtown area to collect treats, but any business wishing to contribute at least 600 pieces of candy, (based on last year's count of traveling ghouls) can be dropped off at the Smith Studio, no later than Saturday October 24. A list of all participating businesses will be included in each bag. Volunteers are needed to load bags with candy at 1 PM at Smith Studios on Tuesday October 27th. Volunteers will also be needed to help hand out bags and prizes from 11-1 at the Park on Saturday the 31st.

The Scarecrow Row exhibit will occur, rain or shine. For more information you can contact the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce at 309-944-2686, or the Smith Studio and Gallery at 309-945-5428.