The Scarecrows return to the Santa Ynez Valley October 1 – 31, 2018!
What started out as a little idea, has quickly grown!
In 2010, Sue Moualim of the Artistic Pony Studios, Ltd. and Susan Williams, of Solvang 3rd Wednesday, put their heads together to think of a great way to celebrate the Harvest and Autumn Season in Solvang. Naturally, scarecrows seemed the logical step and thus, Solvang 3rd Wednesday’s First Annual Scarecrow Fest was underway.
Sixty businesses joined in the fun and by October 2010, zany, quirky, sweet, traditional, Danish, spooky, crazy, and downright funny scarecrows were gracing window displays, sidewalks, and park benches as the Village of Solvang had a little celebration – much to the delight of the locals and tourists who were there for those fall months.
The hearty competitive atmosphere between the businesses and the impression of those kooky scarecrows, must have been a good one, because when the 2nd Annual Scarecrow Fest came around in 2011, over 80 businesses jumped on board and more than 600 voter ballots were turned in by the population that had traveled to Solvang, to have during our warm Harvest Season.
By 2012, the Solvang 3rd Wednesday Scarecrow Fest had grown to such proportions that over 100 businesses participated, more than 1,200 ballots were turned in, and Solvang 3rd Wednesday had to expand their scarecrow categories and introduced a panel of judges, because there were just too many incredible scarecrows to go around!
Well, now it’s 2018, and what started out as Solvang 3rd Wednesday’s Scarecrow Fest has since become the Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest – expanding throughout the entire Valley – so the humorous, good-natured feelings that the scarecrows impart can not only be seen in Solvang, but also in Santa Ynez, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Buellton, and even Ballard.
To view the latest Scarecrow Fest PRESS RELEASE, please click here.
The Santa Ynez Valley encompasses a cozy landscape of unique Western towns (and one Northern European one), rolling hills, beautiful vineyards, and scenic drives.
Santa Ynez – the township that took its name from the Old Mission Santa Ines, which was established way back when Spain still held California – is a town that still looks as if the year is 1860. Dedicated to preserving its rich history, most of the buildings are original buildings (including a saloon!), which serve as an excellent backdrop for all of the fall fun that happens through Santa Ynez’s swinging doors and on the covered porches of Edison Street.
Los Alamos is the smallest of the five towns, but it is definitely not lacking in character: A hub of artistic creativity mixed beautifully with an old-world Western feel, art galleries, antique shops, wine and beer tasting rooms, hip restaurants and the historic 1880 Union Hotel & Saloon, are nestled within the town’s namesake Cottonwoods.
Los Olivos is a little boom-town of vineyards, wineries, galleries, shops, wine tasting rooms, and wine and beer bars. With much of its original structure and buildings still in place, it also shares the same Western feel as the other small towns, yet mixes in a ‘Wineaux Chic’ flair. This pocket-of-sunshine town might only be two blocks by two blocks, but Los Olivos loves to celebrate! No matter the festival, this town always does it up in Grand Avenue style — as they will, with their scarecrows.
Solvang, known as the Danish Capital of America, is not a place one can easily forget! Driving into Solvang is like driving straight into Denmark; the culture, the cuisine and the architecture all takes its heritage from the Danish families that settled here back in 1909 — who are still prominent in the City, today. The scarecrows seem to like it here, as year after year more of them keep popping up between tasting rooms, eateries, novelty stores, clothing boutiques, warm bakeries and interesting galleries, throughout the walk-able village.
With a population of approximately 500, Ballard is the smallest of the Santa Ynez Valley towns yet still holds some of the Valley’s most treasured gems, such as a “Little Red Schoolhouse” which has been educating young Ballard residents since 1883, plus one of the most romantic B&Bs in the region. It’s well worth a brief visit to Ballard to see historic homes, churches – and miniature donkeys – as well as to experience the serenity and charm of a well-preserved country burg.
Buellton is quite a special place, as it is both the Gateway to the Santa Ynez Valley, as well as Gateway to the Sta. Rita Hills. It shares some characteristics with Solvang – as one of its most iconic buildings demonstrates Danish heritage – meshed with structures that retain their Old Western charm, plus newer urban/industrial designs. Boasting numerous restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries, a multitude of hotel options, and a prime position with vineyards and playtime just a short drive away, the Avenue of Flags might just be a main cruising route to access Buellton’s Scarecrows and the City’s many entertainment options.