Well-dressed scarecrows bring art to life at Luscher Farm
On a sweltering, summer day, No. 45 stands silently, her back stiff, her eyes unblinking.
In addition to her cheetah-print purse, BCBG jacket and Lisa Simpson-esque necklace, the eye is quickly drawn to her hair.
Its artfully disheveled a tangled nest of black locks that seem held in place only by a chintzy headband, flower brooch and sheer willpower.
Today, and until Oct. 31, shes competing for your vote. But shes not alone.
Theres No. 35, who has chosen to match a vest embroidered with Christmas ornaments with a black, skin-tight hoodie.
Or No. 74, whose look denim shirt, denim jacket (with 70s disco collar) and carrot-colored Little Orphan Annie haircut seems slightly at odds with itself.
Even a few guys have entered the contest, including No. 21, whose long, black braid rests like a sash over his flannel shirt and yellow suspenders.
The outfits might seem mortifyingly unstylish, but the models, who have been wearing these clothes for days, dont seem to mind. Of course, it helps that theyre not human.
Each contestant is a scarecrow one of 92 that have been built, dressed and planted around the fields of Luscher Farm park by the Oswego Garden Club.
Visitors to the farm can vote for the spookiest or most stylish scarecrow or search the fields for Sneaky Pete, the covert crow watcher, whos hidden somewhere within the parks grounds. Theres even a commemorative sticker for those who find him.
(Hint: It might behoove interested Pete-seekers to look for his clownish accomplice first.)
Nancy Sergeant, who organized the civic project for Oswego Garden Club members, said that whimsy, rather than agricultural necessity, inspired the installation.
The gals get kind of silly when they make them, Sergeant said. Because youre creating people out of used clothing. Its addictive, really.
Many of the farms straw-stuffed watchmen are created with a specific theme or characteristic in mind, including No. 71, whos dressed in motorcycle pants and all Harley-Davidson accoutrements.
Theres No. 9, Cleopatra, No. 1, the golfer, along with Nos. 2 and 14, the couple, (paired with No. 37, the chaperone).
In addition to the themed scarecrows, many smaller, tot-sized stickmen have been built specifically for Luscher Farms Childrens Garden.
(Kids will) run up and give them little kisses, Karen Davis, farm coordinator, said. We have to put up the small ones fairly frequently, because they get hugged so often.
While the scarecrows are built during a two-day workshop, Sergeant said she keeps her eye out for modish, all-weather fashion year round.
Everything from hair extensions at the dollar store to clothing bought by the pound at Goodwill are fair game but certain fabrics, like denim, polyester and other synthetics, stave off sun and rain the best.
People will leave stuff on my doorstep, Sergeant said. Its odd having a reputation for gathering clothes.
Sergeants other tips include using unspooled cassette tape to make curly, hair-like ringlets or fashioning an inflated pink balloon into fake chewing gum.
Still, despite their aesthetic appeal, the scarecrows themselves remain only marginally effective.
Its not too long before you see the crow sitting on the scarecrow, Davis said. But I think of them as entertainment. Or an art form in a way.
So what really bothers the birds? According to Davis, its all about eye contact.
When animals look into someones eyes, they think of it as a challenge, and theyre either up to it or not, Davis said. Just having a body that isnt moving isnt very convincing.
To really flutter their feathers, Davis suggested gluing eyes to a basketball and hanging it from a nearby tree.
That way, there wont be a crow or a fashion faux-pas in sight.
Luscher Farm is located at 125 Rosemont Road. For more information, visit ci.oswego.or.us/luscher.