Kids pose in costumes at last year's Bootanica! event at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Courtesy photo
Kids pose in costumes at last year's Bootanica! event at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Courtesy photo.

Scarecrows are an important part of fall traditions across the country – even in San Antonio, where people often think of cacti and grackles instead of cornfields and crows.

Centro San Antonio will also hold its inaugural Greater Downtown Scarecrow Contest on Oct. 25, 3-10 p.m. at the revitalized Travis Park in the heart of downtown.

San Antonio residents will have a chance to exhibit their own scarecrow design, either as a stand-up human or a stuffed figure.

Through a partnership with Goodwill San Antonio, Centro is offering a workshop at the Goodwill store located at 13311 Bitters Road at Highway 281 before the event so that people can learn how to create scarecrows.

“We have a Halloween craft event scheduled at our Bitters Road store on Oct. 16 from 6-8 p.m. and will have a scarecrow-building craft at this event,” said Eddie Romero, membership and events manager with Centro San Antonio.

Centro San Antonio requests that participants bring a completed scarecrow to Travis Park the day of the contest to participate. If participants are dressed as live scarecrows, they can attend the event as they are and the contest coordinators will accommodate them.

Centro San Antonio Fall Festival

The stuffed scarecrows will be placed in the flower bed surrounding the Col. William B. Travis monument at the park.

The Greater Downtown Scarecrow Contest is a free event, though Centro San Antonio is asking for a $25 registration fee for businesses and organizations and $5 for individuals.

Along with the scarecrow contest, there will also be a pumpkin patch at Travis Park – one of the first for the downtown San Antonio community.

The pumpkin patch will live in the southeast quadrant of the park to create a fall atmosphere and photo opportunity. The pumpkins–provided by H-E-B, a sponsor of the event – will also be for sale. Other pumpkin activities include pumpkin painting, pumpkin tossing, and pumpkin stacking competitions.

Throughout the day, attendees can enjoy Amor y Arte artisans market and the arts and crafts they have for sale.

As the sun goes down, activities will continue with ghost stories from the San Antonio Storytellers Association, a Glow Roll – a group of bikers ride through the park with glow-in-the-dark elements attached to their bikes, and a free viewing of “Ghostbusters.”

The Greater Downtown Scarecrow Contest is part of a series of events Centro San Antonio is holding at the renovated Travis Park.

Several downtown community members, including Providence Catholic School, Goodwill San Antonio, and the Henry Ford Academy Alameda School for Art and Design, will lead the ghoulish games.

All applications to participate and registration fees must be completed and turned into Centro offices by 5 p.m., Oct. 17. Completed scarecrows accepted at Travis Park Oct. 25 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Entries will not be accepted after 2 p.m. Register here.

For more information on Centro San Antonio events and the rules for the contest, visit Contact Eddie Romero at (210) 225-3862 for more details.

Also on Oct 25, the Children’s Vegetable Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Junior Master Gardeners will be making scarecrows out of recycled materials during Bootanica!, an annual event celebrating the fall season and Halloween in a fun atmosphere suited for kids of all ages.

A scarecrow featured on the Scarecrow Trail at the San Antonio Botanical Garden's Bootanica! event last year. Courtesy photo
A scarecrow featured on the Scarecrow Trail at the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Bootanica! event last year. Courtesy photo

“The kids enjoy making (scarecrows) and putting them in each of their own raised beds,” said Ruby Zavala, youth gardens coordinator with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, which works with the San Antonio Botanical Gardens to host educational events for kids each year. “The scarecrows really add the finishing touch to our fall gardens.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 25, children and their parents can delight in a variety of fall-themed activities, including a children’s costume parade, trick-or-treating along WaterSaver Lane, and more.

The Botanical Garden is also home to a Scarecrow Trail Exhibit through Nov. 16. Scattered throughout the paths and garden beds, visitors can explore and enjoy more than 20 different scarecrows built using old materials including milk jugs, gourds, flowerpots, wood, burlap, yarn, moss and other found or recycled items.

Courtesy of H-E-B, all guests will enjoy $2 off admission to the garden during Bootanica! All activities are free with paid admission to the Botanical Garden. The company also will provide samples of Día de los Muertos and Halloween snacks. H-E-B Buddy will be on hand to celebrate and pass out Halloween goodie bags to kids.

Other scheduled activities include South Texas Herpetology lessons with live snakes, knot tying with the Girl Scouts, a Microsoft Store activity and Bricks Academy Built It Zones. All activities are subject to change.

Oct. 25 will also be the last day for plant sales at the Botanical Garden. Thousands of San Antonio-friendly plants and hundreds of varieties will be available for view and purchase from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gallon pots are $8 and large pots are $15. There is a discount for purchases of five pots or more.

*Featured/top image: Kids pose in costumes at last year’s Bootanica! event at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Courtesy photo.

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Katherine Nickas was born in San Antonio near Fort Sam Houston but grew up in southern Indiana. In 2007, she began working for Indiana AgriNews where she covered topics ranging from corn and soybean production...