It was a marriage made in heaven. The image of a scarecrow bride and groom in front of a church in Chester, New Hampshire. That town’s historical society has sold scarecrow kits as a fundraiser for 10 years. The town of 5,000 is now displaying over 1,000 each fall.

Uli Lieb found the photo on a now-defunct Facebook page called “View from My Window.” It inspired her to present the idea to the Historical Society of Forest Park in 2021. The society found the perfect partner for the project with the Forest Park Arts Alliance. 

Lieb, who serves as the historical society treasurer, recalled that 100 scarecrow kits were sold that year. The kits contained two 8-foot lengths of wood that were cut to size by volunteers, Geoff Binns-Calvey and Jason Maxham. The kits also contained a burlap head, plastic for stuffing, a paint kit and a set of instructions.

The scarecrow invasion unleashed the creativity, artistry and inventiveness Forest Parkers are known for. Inspiration came from many sources including village history. There were four categories of prizes: For People’s Choice (The Golden Girls); Forest Park Pride (Firefighter); Most Historic (Adolph Luetgart, the Sausage King) and Most Artistic (Scarecrow with Watering Can). Winners received large, impressive gift baskets stocked with gift certificates for local businesses.

Since that first year, the invasion has only grown. In 2022, 200 kits were sold and 300 will be available this year. To order a scarecrow kit, residents can visit or 

The kits are for sale on the websites and can be picked up at the Garage Galleries event on Aug. 26. The pickup location at Garage Galleries is at 1110 Thomas. The kits are $35 but can be upgraded to $50 to have a local artist paint the face. Businesses and individuals can also pay $200 for a fully designed and decorated scarecrow.

There will again be a map of Forest Park showing the locations of the scarecrows. Ones from past years can be included on the map for $10. There will be a bike tour in October to visit them. Sales of the kits are already underway. The scarecrows will be displayed during the entire month of October. Residents can cast their votes for the most impressive scarecrows. Prize winners will be announced in November. 

Lieb’s first creation depicted Hannah and Ferdinand wearing lederhosen and holding steins. Others have displayed Hansel and Gretel, Sonny and Cher and Bernie Sanders. Local history was highlighted with the Bloomer Girls, Emma Goldman and Showman’s Rest. There has also been artistry with portraits of The Scream and The Girl with the Pearl Earring. The level of creativity has been off the charts.

The sale of scarecrows has also been a proven fundraiser for the historical society and arts alliance. Last year, these organizations each received $1,300. Lieb is hoping the organizations can earn $1,800 apiece this year. So, if residents wish to “Wile away the hours” making scarecrows. Their creations can stand on their front lawns “Conferrin’ with the flowers and Consultin’ with the rain.”

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.