Solvang will welcome the coming season in true autumn style as the town kicks off its 11th Annual Scarecrow Fest and Contest, Thursday, Oct. 1.

During the month-long Scarecrow Fest, which concludes on Halloween (Oct. 31), Solvang businesses and organizations will participate in the contest by featuring a scarecrow of their own creation posted at their location, all while maintaining COVID-19 protocols.

Locals, tourists and area merchants can vote via the Fest website,, as Solvang focuses on maintaining COVID-19 guidelines during this year’s festival. Scarecrow winners will be awarded in six categories:

Best Scarecrow Photo Op, Best Use of Recycled Materials, Best Use of Business Theme, Most Danish, Spookiest, and Most Humorous. Scarecrow maps will be available on the website to direct voters to each of the contest’s scarecrows.

Once a Best Solvang Scarecrow winner has been chosen, it will be entered into the Santa Ynez Valley-wide competition with the scarecrow winners from Buellton and Los Olivos to determine the valley’s Best Scarecrow. The ultimate winner will be announced and celebrated virtually.

The overall winner will receive the contest’s handcrafted trophy, the Harvest Cup, to keep on display in their town until the conclusion of the following year’s contest. The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, a Buellton hospitality business, was awarded the 2019 Harvest Cup.

“This is the eighth year that the [Scarecrow] contest is going valley-wide, and the other Santa Ynez Valley towns have definitely embraced the Fest,” said Tracy Beard, Solvang Chamber of Commerce executive director.

“The more that each town gets into this, the better the experience for both our locals and visitors, whose community involvement and visits, respectively, benefit the local economy of the entire valley,” said Beard, who is heading up the 2020 Solvang Scarecrow Fest coordination and organization, while maintaining a safe environment for all.

The six Solvang Scarecrow Fest voting categories were selected through an effort to nurture friendly competition and community among Solvang locals, to highlight Solvang’s unique traits, and to encourage mindful, eco-conscious creativity.

Solvang’s Scarecrow Fest was originally started as a way to drive business to each of the participating companies, storefronts, merchants and organizations, as well as to the town and the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley locales. Past years’ Scarecrow Fests have received far-reaching notice, with visitors coming from as far away as Alaska.

Businesses and organizations throughout Solvang are invited to participate in the Scarecrow Fest; the fee to participate in the contest is $25. Entry forms for the 2020 Solvang Scarecrow Fest must be returned by Thursday, Sept. 17 for participating scarecrows to be included on the map.

Questions about the Solvang Scarecrow Fest plans may be directed to the Solvang Chamber at The chamber can also provide further contest details, participant entry forms, and a Scarecrow Tips & Tricks document.

Updated information about this year’s Solvang Scarecrow Fest is posted at