Individuals have the opportunity to represent their family or business through a scarecrow display in Ridgeland’s wildflower field on West Jackson Street during the month of October.
Keep Ridgeland Beautiful and Visit Ridgeland have partnered to bring the feeling of autumn to the wildflower field through the inaugural Scarecrow Trail. The decorated scarecrow should represent the participant’s family or business and be placed in the flagged areas of the field for all to see. Contestants should also share a picture on social media with the hashtags: #Ridgelandscarecrowtrail and #visitridgelandms. People are also invited to bring a plain or decorated pumpkin to add to the field.
“Whether the scarecrows and pumpkins catch the eye of travelers filling their tank at the gas station or locals stop by to see what is blooming in the field this week, we hope they will enjoy the whimsical scenes that await,” Keep Ridgeland Beautiful Committee Chair Jan Richardson said.
Richardson said businesses have jumped at the opportunity to take part in the contest, and several scarecrows are already in the field. Hannah Wilkins, Visit Ridgeland In-Market Sales and Visitor Center Manager, said that within one week of registration being open, six businesses had already signed up.
“We have really enjoyed seeing how quickly the community has embraced this new Ridgeland tradition,” Wilkins said. “Registration is still open, and we invite families and organizations across the community to get in on the festive fun!”
The first of these participants is Jay Hassell, a local State Farm Agent. A longtime agent in the area, Hassell moved into Ridgeland last year and saw the competition as a way to get involved with the community.
“We love the fall, the fall festivals and all the things involved with that,” Hassell said. “It is a good way to get involved in a pretty simple community activity.”
Hassell and his team decided their scarecrow should represent the work State Farm does. As an insurance company, much of Hassell’s job is selling auto insurance. Thus, Hassell’s scarecrow is driving a red State Farm car.
“It is a way to get involved with the community but also represent what our business offers the community,” Hassell said. “Our business offers the community insurance and financial services and the scarecrow represents auto insurance.”
While Hassell said the main goal of his scarecrow was to get involved with the community, it is also to raise awareness and be an example of a small business owner. He said many people don’t realize State Farm agents are their own independent business owners.
“I think community involvement is good for everybody,” Hassell said. “I think if we get more involved in our community, support other small businesses and shop locally, it is an advantage to everybody.”
Participants can register within the Ridgeland Visitor Center located at 1000 Highland Colony Parkway Suite 6006 across from Zea Rotisserie within the Renaissance at Colony Park or online at visitridgeland.com/ridgeland-scarecrow-trail. The winner of the contest will be picked on Halloween, Oct. 31. The winner will be decided by a panel of staff members of Visit Ridgeland and Keep Ridgeland Beautiful, in addition to Ridgeland Miss Hospitality Sarah Hederman. Prizes will be given to the most creative crow belonging to a business or organization as well as the best family scarecrow.
“We hope the trail will grow to become one of Ridgeland’s most loved fall traditions,” Wilkins said.