Kim Schiavone of Hamilton

With a little straw here and a little straw there, Kim Schiavone of Hamilton puts the finishing touches on Autumn, Curl Up and Dye's drabulous to fabulous scarecrow. The Stevensville hair salon was participating in last year's scarecrow contest in Stevensville.

PERRY BACKUS/Ravalli Republic

STEVENSVILLE – Fall weather and its attendant colors have arrived just in time for Stevensville’s seventh annual Scarecrow Festival.

The Stevensville Art and Sculpture Society, SASS, which puts on the event, solicits scarecrow entries from the community each year. Everyone from individuals to clubs and businesses sends in their sculptures of scarecrows, crows and anything else relating to fall.

New this year was the option to enter your very own self into the competition as a “living sculpture.” While the non-living sculptures will be displayed on the walking path north of Stevensville, the living sculptures will be right on Main Street downtown. SASS president Gary Knapp said these folks will be out First Friday, Oct. 5, from 5-9 p.m.

He also said the “statues” will move very little, but will with the right persuasion.

“When someone makes a donation you reward them with some kind of an action,” he said. “Usually with a big flourish.”

The free public event will go from Friday, Oct. 5, until Saturday of the following week, but most of the excitement will be at the beginning because people can vote for their favorite sculpture for “People’s Choice” through 11 a.m. Oct. 6.

Some celebrity judges, will vote on the other categories of “Artistic Merit” and “Best Living Statue.”

The addition of voting Saturday morning is a new feature of the festival. It used to be done by Friday night.

“What we discovered in the past is that people would come on Saturday and they would be disappointed that the voting was over,” Knapp said.

With the additional voting time came an awards ceremony. The top three in the People’s Choice and Best Living Statue categories and top two for Artistic Merit will receive ribbons and cash prizes. The ceremony will be held at about 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Scarecrow Festival was started by SASS seven years ago as just a fun public art project. Little did the nonprofit know, they weren’t alone.

“It turns out that, once we got on Facebook, we’re now in contact with five or six other scarecrow festivals across the country,” Knapp said. “There’s a national presence of scarecrow festivals.”

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