Wiscasset rolls, builds, cooks through Scarecrowfest

Mon, 10/21/2019 - 7:45am

“We can put it over there and the whole town can see it,” Wiscasset Parks and Recreation’s Rob Doody told Christopher Lincoln, 8, of Wiscasset as they took a scarecrow to the bottom of the common Saturday. Lincoln reached up to adjust the milk jug face and Doody secured the creation to a post at Scarecrowfest.

Up the grassy hill, Wiscasset’s William Marshall, 3, told his mother Kim Averill he had a surprise. He walked up to her with a load of leaves in his arms and a smile on his face.

And at the top of the hill, Westport Island’s Vivian McKinney, 9, finished a scarecrow’s face. McKinney’s mother Mary looked on, smiling. Like others interviewed, Mary McKinney liked the event’s move from the town office to the common this year. “It’s awesome. You have the trees and everything. So I think it’s very good for Scarecrowfest.”

Elizabeth Palmer knows chili and it was part of a whirlwind of Scarecrowfest events for Morris Farm Store’s operating partner. Palmer’s upbringing in cattle ranching country in Arizona qualified her to help judge the chili challenge, she said after setting out the burritos and other food Sarah’s Cafe donated as sponsor of a breakfast at the farm. She would also be judging chowder and pumpkin desserts.

“Sadly, I ate a big dinner last night, and I will be trying Sarah’s legendary cheesy potatoes” at the breakfast, but she was doing enough to work up an appetite for the samplings at the contests, she said. Palmer said later, the potatoes lived up to the legend. “They are all they are cracked up to be.”

After Palmer and fellow judges Monique McCrae and Leo Egan emerged with the results in First Congregational Church of Wiscasset’s fellowship hall, Palmer told the Wiscasset Newspaper: “I have tried everything, I have been on a journey of culinary delights in this room, and I can tell you, the people of Wiscasset eat well.” And cook well? “Oh, my yes.”

Palmer built a bee scarecrow well enough for a win. The farm store’s entry took first in Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce’s scarecrow contest for businesses and organizations. Deckside Vacation Rentals took second; 40 Federal Studio, third; and Sarah’s Cafe, The First National Bank and First Congregational, notable mentions.

Earlier, while the food judges deliberated in another room, entrants sampled one another’s anonymous recipes in small cups. Vickie Hersom said she entered multiple categories to help the event get a good number of entries; there were 20-plus, WACC’s Pat Cloutier said. McRae told the crowd she and the other judges were full and would not be eating supper.

Brad Sevaldson entered only chili, the food he said he focused on after the season’s first cold snap. His chili went on to join Betsy Kyle’s as the tops, but judges made a surprise announcement: Both entries were so good, the panel couldn’t decide and a cook-off would be set for early November; Hersom’s pumpkin gooey butter cake took first in desserts, Sheila Sawyer was runner-up, with whoopie pies, and Cloutier’s chowder won.

Wiscasset’s Judy Flanagan had on fall leaf earrings and a candy corn pin for her visit to Scarecrowfest. “It’s a wonderful community event. It’s a good day and people are happy and being friendly,” she said near First Congregational’s sales tables and a grill of bratwurst. Mother-daughter members Jan and Sarah Whitfield explained, with Scarecrowfest moved to the common, the church joined in and forewent its Oktoberfest this year as a fall fundraiser.

Lisa Thompson dressed as a scarecrow for her last Scarecrowfest as parks and recreation director. She will direct North Yarmouth’s community center. It was a great day to end on, because she was getting to see everyone, say good-bye and wish them well, she said. “It’s been really nice.”