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Building a good scarecrow takes the right stuffing

October 10, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Dismembered bodies were being toted around with abandon Saturday at Fairgrounds Park, much to the chagrin of retired Maryland State Police Trooper David Yohman.

At the fourth annual Harvest Hoedown, Yohman was overseeing a booth that gave people free, donated clothes so they could make scarecrows.

Shirts went first, causing some people to simply stuff an old pair of pants with straw. One young girl was carrying a torsoless body atop her shoulders.

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Yohman, a professor of criminal justice at Hagerstown Community College, was helping his students distribute the clothes, which came with a crash course in how to make a scarecrow.

"Next year, we're going to have three times the amount of clothes," Yohman said. "We won't run out."

Along with making a scarecrow, other activities at the hoedown included rides in a tractor-pulled wagon, face painting, pony rides, balloon art and a petting zoo.

Lines were present for most of the activities. Some parents seemed to look on with wariness at the pumpkin painting booth, and a few fears appeared to be justified when children's shirts ended up with as much paint on them as the pumpkin.

JoEllen Snowden of Hagerstown asked her two daughters and two friends' daughters to put the paint on thinly so it would dry quickly. At least one of the girls, though, adhered to the theory that the best way to decorate a pumpkin is to slop on as much paint in as many different colors as possible.

"I hate to see them cover up the pumpkins," Snowden said. "They're so pretty."

For the scarecrows, bales of straw were opened and spread across a grassy area.

Melissa King of Charles Town, W.Va., was taking pictures as her daughter, Alicia, 12, and two sons, James, 6, and Jason, 4, played in the straw.

Alicia seemed solemnly intent on stuffing with straw a pair of pants and James' sweatshirt, which he had donated to the effort. ("We had to improvise," King said.)

The boys had other plans.

"They're having a ball just playing in the hay," King said as her sons jumped in a pile of straw.

Robert Brady was in charge of watching his family's scarecrow, which was sitting in a stroller, while the rest of his family, including his 2-, 4-, and 6-year-old children, enjoyed the hoedown.

"We always try to do some things with the kids," Brady said.

He planned to put his scarecrow on his front porch, once his children put on a few finishing touches.

"We let them decorate the face when they get home," Brady said.

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