The iconic hay-stuffed flannel and denim scarecrow is getting an eco-makeover this year at the Queens County Farm and will be replaced with tin cans, phone cords and vinyl records.
The Queens County Farm and Con Edison are hosting this year’s first ever recycled scarecrow contest, which has been dubbed Recycrows for short. The contest is open to children and adults of all ages, including businesses, schools, individuals and families.
The contest boasts a first place prize of $150 to the most unique and durable Recycrow. The catch? Recycrows must be made using only recycled materials and must be able to withstand outdoor conditions for one month.
According to Amy Boncardo, Executive Director of the Queens County Farm, the Recycrow idea was suggested by Con Edison, which helps fund programs at the farm.
Recycled scarecrow contests have been popping up in county fairs throughout the U.S., offering an eco-friendly alternative to traditional scarecrow contests and an endless supply of materials.
“This is certainly different from any exhibit we’ve ever had in the past," Boncardo said.
"Visitors will enjoy seeing this exhibit that showcases the creative work of people and businesses in the community. As an added benefit, Recycrows will reinforce the recycling message in a fun and unique way. We hope clubs and businesses will see this as a great team building activity and a great advertising benefit. It’s a great project to celebrate the arrival of fall and share creativity.”
To help participants, the farm is offering a free workshop with local artist Nancy Rakoczy, whose previous exhibits have included knitted New York Times and dry cleaner bags. Examples of recycled materials and uses will be provided and participants are encouraged to bring materials and questions for Rakoczy’s advice.
According to Rakoczy, forgoing traditional scarecrow supplies makes perfect sense for New York City residents.
“Using recycled materials is the logical alternative for the city dweller. Traditional scarecrows were created from the materials at hand: straw and old clothes,” Rakoczy said. “Also, ask a friend to help make your scarecrow. Between two or three people, there should be a lot of discarded, recycled material in their combined kitchens, bathrooms and closets. More people make for more ideas.”
The workshop is scheduled for Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the farm's Education Building. Registration is not required and participants are welcome to attend the workshop for as long as their schedules allow.
Entries can be brought to the Queens County Farm anytime between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Sept. 21 to Oct. 5. All entry submissions must be received by October 5 at 5 p.m. The contest is free to enter and three prizes are awarded.
All Recycrows will be on display throughout the month of October at “Recycrow Row.” Winners are picked by farm visitors, who can vote in person at the gift shop or online via Facebook.
For those interested but not sure where to start, Rakoczy recommends exploring discarded kitchen and bathroom products.
“Some duct tape, wire and markers could readily give these items some character," she said. "Be inspired by comic book characters like Batman, or the upcoming election. Create a new character: a scarecrow composed of just plastic soda bottles could be Soda Boy or Girl, telling us to limit our consumption of soda.”
For more information about entering, please visit the Queens County Farm's website for a complete list of rules and entry guidelines, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.