EDITORíS DESK: Desperately seeking scarecrows
It's Thursday morning, and I just took a drive through Old Colorado City. I was looking for scarecrows.
This is not something I do all the time. I want you to know this. It's just that I've gotten accustomed to finding, around mid-September every year, 40-some imaginatively crafted products of straw, cloth and knick-knacks outside Old Colorado City shops. Until this year, at least, Scarecrow Days has been Old Town at its best - shopkeepers taking time from their business lives to quietly demonstrate to an ever-savvier modern world that the best things in life are still those which are made with one's own hands. Westside schools have even pitched in sometimes, the students getting a thrill out of seeing their creations on street corners.
So it has been with puzzlement that I've watched the progress - or lack of same - leading up to this year's Scarecrow Days. Yes, the related events have all been scheduled, check. And yes, the occasion is being advertised to the region, check. But where are the scarecrows themselves? The opening has already been postponed from Sept. 13 because there were none for the "celebrity judges" to score. Hence, my Thursday morning drive - two days before the rescheduled judging Sept. 20. I wanted to see, before we published this issue, if the situation had changed. Well, not really. I found one. Ironically, it was in front of Pine Creek Art Gallery, whose owner, Nancy Stovall, used to coordinate Scarecrow Days. This year the merchants decided to hire a professional marketing firm instead. Now, I don't want to say anything bad about the Zeal Group. I've talked to them and I know they're trying hard to make this event the biggest it's ever been. But maybe that's part of the problem, if I may be so bold. Scarecrow Days was never meant to be a monster event. It's just a home-grown tradition, a little silly, but unique to the Westside and special as well to visitors who stop to check out the scarecrows and maybe shop here as a result. It appears we've lost that. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe two minutes after my drive scarecrows started popping up like mad. I hope so. I'd rather be wrong on this one.