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Fall festival features bewitching scarecrows

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Scarecrows lurk around every bend at Thanksgiving Point’s Ashton Gardens from now until Saturday, Oct. 16. Individuals, groups and businesses submitted creative scarecrows weeks ago,and visitors can vote on their favorites during the week-long festival. 

The annual Scarecrow Festival coincides with the Alpine School District’s Fall Break. Monday through Wednesday, visitors can enjoy a quiet walk in the crisp Fall weather. From Thursday to Saturday, vendors and activities are at the Waterfall Amphitheater as well as live music.

“This is our first time; we’ve been talking about going for years,” Clarinda DeCarlos said. DeCarlos came with friends and her 18-month-old son Henry, who stopped to look at the water every time he came to a bridge. “So far the Lego Emmett scarecrow is our favorite.”

“We come all the time to walk, but we came specifically today for the scarecrows. Last year was my first time and I wanted to bring my husband back to see it this year,” said Janet Latta. The Lattas started their Fall vacation with a trip to Ashton Gardens. “The scarecrows are all creative, some are more impressive than others.”

Not everyone came to the gardens for the scarecrows on Monday, Oct. 11. Dozens of gardeners, including volunteers, were there bright and early at 7 a.m. to plant thousands of tulip bulbs that will be in bloom for the Tulip Festival in Spring 2022.

“We’ll plant about 6,000 tulip bulbs in this section today,” said Lisa Banks, working at the bottom of Vista Hill at Ashton Gardens. Banks is a team crew leader in the gardens, supervising volunteers who prep the soil, place the bulbs and plant the bulbs.

The gardeners don’t always know what color tulips they’re putting in the ground. “We’ll find out in Spring,” said Banks.

“We’re here all year round, except in December during Luminaria,” Banks continued. She and her crew spend hours planting every season and putting up lights in November. “We’re planting 300,000 tulips and 200,000 other bulbs this year. After they bloom in Spring, we’ll dig them all up and sell them to the public and start over next Fall.”

“I love it. When I see the flowers in bloom I think, ‘I did that.’ It’s very satisfying,” said Banks.

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