The Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District will kick off the fall season on Saturday with its fourth annual Scarecrow Festival at Sehmel Homestead Park, 10123 78th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor. The free event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We had a crowd of over 5,000 last year, and the festival expects to grow even bigger this year,” said Sarah Polcek, recreational specialist for PenMet Parks.
A free shuttle service from 70th Street will be available to drop off and pick up attendees. Drivers can follow the posted signs for parking.
PenMet Parks will host a variety of new and returning kid-friendly activities, and Miracle Ranch will provide a petting zoo. Families will be able to participate in carnival games and various arts and crafts booths. Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One will give fire engine tours for children who are interested.
The main stage will have live shows throughout the day with comedians, musicians, variety shows and the Leapin’ Louie Western Show.
“New entertainment in the pavilion this year will be PenMet Family Theater performing two plays, “The Truant Witch” and “The Perfect Pumpkin,” said Gretchen Hayes, PenMet Parks’ recreational manager.
Giant Pumpkin and Cowboy will be back on stilts, walking around the event.
Seattle’s Act 1 Theater will provide an in-character costumed scarecrow and pumpkin for photo opportunities.
The Scarecrow Competition has been redesigned to include a separate area for people to enjoy the creations. Voters will be given a raffle ticket to vote for their favorite hand-crafted scarecrow. A $200 prize will be awarded in one of three categories.
“There are always new scarecrows each year,” Hayes said. “Enter a scarecrow, or come vote for your favorite.”
There are multiple fair food and treat options available. New food vendors will include Wood Fired Pizza and Josefina’s Burrito Boy. More than 40 vendors will sell arts and crafts items and more.
Polacek said vendors can only accept cash, and there is no ATM at the park.
“Many people were caught off-guard and wanted to buy things, but vendors are cash-only,” she said.
Admission, parking, shuttles and the activities are free with two exceptions. Pumpkins are three for $5 for the pumpkin launcher, and proceeds will go to fund youth scholarships for students who need assistance with fees for sports, classes and camps. The Miracle Ranch tractor-pull hay rides are $5.