Atkinson group gets head start on fall scarecrow tradition

·2 min read

Jul. 29—ATKINSON — Summer is in full swing, but the Atkinson Historical Society is already in the midst of planning a popular fall tradition.

Members of the group are hard at work on the annual scarecrow fundraiser, with hopes of filling front yards and streets again with the festive straw figures.

For the past several years, locals have been able to purchase hand-painted and assembled scarecrow kits, with money going toward varying restoration efforts.

The craze knows no town lines and now includes other local communities, like Plaistow and Chester.

The Atkinson Historical Society began taking pre-orders in June and will begin assembly next weekend.

Kate Rochford, president of the society, said the group sells between 100 and 120 scarecrows each year. One of the biggest years was 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rochford said it was the perfect family activity to enjoy from the safety of home during uncertain times. Since then, she has seen excitement grow for this quirky New England staple, with families continuing to get involved.

The scarecrow kits are $30 each and come in two sizes — adult and child.

They range from 60 to 80 inches, respectively.

Two Atkinson residents, including head painter Sally Dowd, are in charge of the unique faces on each.

"We have funny ones and scary ones," Rochford said. "It takes a while when people come in (to pick up their scarecrows). They look at them and buy the right face for them."

Scarecrows can be dressed and styled to each owner's liking, in any theme, and then displayed.

A pre-order form is available on online at atkinsonhistoricalsociety.org. Kits will be sold every Saturday in September from 10 a.m. to noon in the barn at Kimball House Museum while supplies last.