MINT HILL, NC – Mint Hill’s 2021 Scarecrow Decorating Contest was a huge success!
Starting last year during the pandemic as a fun fall activity the Town could enjoy while staying socially distanced, the Scarecrow Decorating Contest has already become a much-loved fall tradition in Mint Hill. This year’s contest featured 67 entries: 49 in the business category and 18 residential.
First place in the residential category and a $500 cash prize courtesy of Novant Health went to the Clontz family for “Farmer Mickey.” “We came up with Mickey and Minnie because my girls absolutely love Mickey Mouse,” said Jessica Clontz. “They are one and a half and three, and I am from Montana and grew up on a 15,000-acre farm. We are super excited to have won!” Appropriately, Clontz plans to put her winnings toward a Disney vacation for the girls.
Richard and Jane Peniston took home second place and $250 for “Happy Days.” The display depicts a vignette of the Penistons’ life on the farm, complete with “Seven,” Jane’s retired horse who still lives there. “He’s been everyone’s horse on the farm at one time or another,” said Jane. “He’s been a hunter jumper for our neighbors kids, he was our great trail horse for many years because he would go anywhere, cross anything and anyone could ride him, and he taught both my grandsons how to ride. His last equine accomplishment was Reserve National Champion in EXCA (Extreme Cowboy Association) in his late 20’s at that time; after that, I told him he was retired and could spend the rest of his days just being a horse. So I made the horse scarecrow in his honor.”
“I named our scarecrow exhibit ‘Happy Days,’” continued Jane, “because the farm and horses are our happy place to be. We spend many a ‘Happy Day’ here on the Farm and never have to leave. I was very honored to win; it was a bonus to the fun I had making them and the mess I made in our garage putting the scarecrows together.” Jane plans to donate her winnings to Mending Strides Ranch.
Third place in the residential category went to the Velazquez Family for their Alice in Wonderland-inspired scarecrow, “Chesire G.” “The Mad Hatter was one of our favorite characters that we felt was family-friendly and gave us that Halloween feeling,” said Melanie Velazquez. “My fiance found two wood posts in our shed from the previous owner; I used a mad hatter costume I’ve previously had and made the cut out of Chesire the cat face and thought it would be a nice idea to put him on the hat since he was always disappearing. Everything just sort of all came together with the tea party and mini hats along with some other cool ideas related to the movie.” Valezques plans to invest her $125 prize into her upcoming balloon decor business Horizon Backdrops.
First place in the business category and $500 cash went to last year’s second-place winner, Wayback Burgers, for their two-headed scarecrow “The Double Bacon Reaper.” “It feels amazing to be chosen as a winner for the contest,” said owner Anna Turovskaya. “The name came from our #1 seller, the double bacon burger. The team came up and built it together. The winning will be split between the manager and all teams members who helped with the scarecrow. We love that Mint Hill makes holiday time fun every year!”
Clear Creek Elementary claimed second prize in the business category with their school spirit-inspired “Clear Creek’s Class of ‘Crows.” The idea for a class of scarecrows led by Clear Creek mascot Sparky the Dragon was the brainchild of Fourth Grade Teacher Christy Bost and Art Teacher Jesse Armstrong. “Clear Creek was super excited to officially participate in the scarecrow contest this year!” said Bost. “Last year we put up an impromptu display in my front yard that included our principal and assistant principal – it was really something we did to bring some joy to our school community during COVID. We decided then we would officially enter the contest this year!”
“Clear Creek is SUPER excited to be a winner, as this win brings some attention to our school that often is overlooked because of its location,” continued Bost. “With our winnings, we will expand and maintain our Book Libraries, which are located throughout our school community. We have one in front of the school, two in communities where our students live; and another one about to be installed in a third community. We will also use some of the winnings to purchase Art supplies that are needed.”
In third place was Atrium Health Care with “Toddly the Pilot,” a creation that demonstrates pride in not only the teammates at Atrium Health MedCenter Air’s Communication Center but everyone at Atrium Health who has continued to support one another through challenging times.
“In times like these, a small project like this brings teammates together and gives them something to relax their minds from the daily grind,” said Air & Ground Transportation Operations & Communications Manager Todd Anderson. “The helicopter was hand cut from plywood and painted by hand by our Communications Specialists in their spare time. Scarecrows stuffed into MedCenter Air flight suits, and an injured straw patient getting the best healthcare from, what we like to think, are the highest trained professionals in the industry.”
“It’s feels awesome to be selected as a winner because of the hard work our team put into this,” continued Anderson. “They didn’t do it for any other reason than they are proud of the work we do and to be able to serve our community that we love. Part of the pride of Atrium Health is being able to give back to the community. That will be what the winnings will go to. We care about our community and hope that our scarecrows gave the community just a little of the enjoyment that we had creating them and look forward to trying again next year!”
The second and third place winners took home $250 and $125 respectively. The annual scarecrow contest would not be possible without the generous sponsorship of Novant Health, who furnished the prizes for all winners.
“I thought it was a huge success,” said Assistant to the Town Manager Sheryl Smith. “People brought their A-game. Our town is home to some very creative people. We hope that next year brings out even more scarecrows!”
Next up for the holidays in Mint Hill is the Town’s Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony. The special nighttime parade featuring local businesses, organizations, bands, and – of course – Santa, will set off from Bain Elementary school at 5:30 pm and travel down Matthews-Mint Hill Road to the Mint Hill Library. Post-parade, gather at Town Hall for the Town’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting sponsored by Atrium. Follow @minthillevents on Facebook to keep up on everything going on in the Town of Mint Hill!