Drive toward the Chance A La Mer beach access in Ocean Shores and in the median in front of the Shilo Inn, in a small community park, stand more than 20 scarecrows, vying for prizes donated by local businesses.
“We put in a plan with the city and it was to get maybe 10 scarecrows and 10 prizes,” said Jim Hummer, the local artist and veteran and brainchild behind the contest. “It’s kind of taken off from that, I think we are up to 22 scarecrows and 10 prizes.”
Hummer hearkened back to his childhood in Minnesota to come up with the idea to provide some Halloween season spirit in a year of COVID-19 closures and cancellations.
“Since everything has been canceled we didn’t know about Halloween for the kids, and we needed to do something,” he said. “We lived on a farm in Minnesota and as a kid they had a place in the city where they had a scarecrow contest every year, and it just grew year after year.”
The scarecrows have been getting a lot of looks from locals and incoming clam diggers alike. “A lot of people are walking through looking at the scarecrows,” said Hummer.
There’s plenty of variety. A standard issue scarecrow stands next to a sign pointing potential contestants to register at the Ocean Shores Convention Center. A blue scrubs-clad scarecrow shows the signs of the time, wearing a face mask, face shield and gloves. Jack Skellington, from the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” gives a toothy-grinned wave. Among the installations, an airborne witch on a broomstick.
The contest goes through the end of October. On the Ocean Shores Scarecrow Contest Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/354978925905027/, Hummer has built a gallery with the competitors listed. Tuesday, he added a grid for voting, where each competitor is listed and votes can be cast. The winning scarecrows will get prizes from local businesses.
“The discussion was, could they afford it?” said Hummer of the local businesses asked to participate. “The thought was to keep it really simple, like $25” per prize, and the business community has stepped up to contribute.
“It’s not the amount of the prize, it’s about the competition,” he said.