The Farmer’s Boogeyman

The scarecrow’s origins can be traced back over three thousand years ago to ancient Greece.  To keep the pesky birds away, the Greeks placed in their fields a wood carving of the god Priapus, who was horrifically ugly.

In pre-feudal Japan, rice farmers made kakshis (meaning “something stinky”).  A kakshi was made out of dirty rags and noisemakers and mounted on a pole, which was then lit on fire.  Eventually, the kakshi developed into a modern scarecrow dressed in a raincoat and hat, and sometimes carries a weapon.

In Medieval Europe, children ran across fields while clapping blocks of wood together to scare away the birds.  When the Black Plague ravaged the continent, farmers were hard pressed to find children to perform this task.  They began stuffing clothing with straw to hang on a pole, and used a turnip or gourd as the scarecrow’s head.

German immigrants brought the bootzamon, or bogeyman, to the U.S.  This early modern scarecrow usually had a wife counterpart that was stationed at the opposite side of the field.  Scarecrows were popular in the U.S. until WWII when the use of pesticides (like DDT) rendered scarecrows useless.  Today, the image of the scarecrow is linked to fall and harvest.  Many of us use scarecrows are decorations on own lawns and in our homes.

Upcoming Event!!!

Scarecrow Harvest Festival – October 6 & 7, 12pm – 5pm

Admission: $7 Adults, $5 Children (ages 3-17), Members are free!

Enjoy a Rockford family tradition of making your own scarecrow to take home for your porch decorations. Midway Village will provide the straw for free. Purchase a cloth head, hat, shirt, pants, and other traditional scarecrow accessories on site, or bring your old clothes from home to make as many scarecrows as you can carry.

When you are here, take the time to explore our charming Victorian era village and gardens at one of the most scenic times of the year when the leaves are in full color and the traditional harvest activities are in full swing.

For more details about activities at this event, click here:


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