Ga. town's scarecrows h(a)unting for world record

Sunday, August 31, 2008

HOSCHTON, Ga. -- This small northeastern Georgia town's population boom is frightening. In a bid to break a world record for scarecrows and scare up some fun for the fall season, thousands of straw-stuffed newcomers are creeping across town.

There's a scuba diver, the Georgia Bulldogs football team and -- of course -- the cast of the Wizard of Oz. Even likenesses of Jesus and Elvis popped up.

The 1,700 real residents of Hoschton hope to more than triple their population with 4,000 scarecrows and break the Guinness World Record for "Most Scarecrows in One Location."

The title belongs to the Cincinnati Horticultural Society's Cincinnati Flower and Farm Fest, which set the record in 2003 with 3,311 scarecrows.

Antique dealer Robbie Bettis and her husband, Fred, are leading the effort for the town's fall festival, which begins Monday.

On Wednesday they watched over an assembly line at an old downtown train depot, where about 20 people passed wooden frames among tables of dingy clothes, yellow milk jugs, plastic grocery bags, old hats, twine, ribbon and other donated materials.

"We thought if we gave people something fun to do then maybe they will forget about the difficult economy," she said. "Winning the world record is just a byproduct."

Crows and criminals beware: Two men caught knocking over scarecrows were sentenced to build 25 of them, lest they face trespassing charges, Mayor Bill Copenhaver said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: