Scaring up business in Middleburgh

October 05, 2018 04:38 PM

MIDDLEBURGH – Some think they're quaint, others weird, and still others creepy. It's the latest attraction in the Capital Region of a town building civic pride and promoting business with sidewalk art. This time, it's scarecrows.

"There's a mom and her daughters who the girls make her go for a walk every day so that they can see if there are any new ones," said organizer Joan Wissert of the Rotary Club. "So that's what you want to see after a community has had to fight back from devastation. So, we're back."

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Back after the flooding of Hurricanes Irene and Lee in 2011. It took a long time for people to dig out, dry out and rebuild. Wissert and her husband moved in. He is from Middleburgh and they came to help clean up, then bought property and moved back and took leadership roles in the village. Some designs came from business owners, others from kids.

"4th, 5th & 6th grades at the elementary school. Their teacher worked with them," said Wissert. "Most of them had never built a scarecrow, so that was a learning experience."

At Mrs. K's Kitchen, Max Rosenthal, 6, was waiting for his breakfast with his grandparents and, when asked, declared that he thought the scarecrows were "weird…they look so much like humans with pumpkin heads."

Down the street, Lisa Tenneson of Four Star Realty and April Dunn, owner of The Flower Room, were tweaking their display. It's one scarecrow holding a bouquet getting up the courage to ask another scarecrow out. The hope is they will marry and buy a house in a village and valley that just a few years ago was battling flood waters. Some of these scarecrows stand as tall as the water once rose.

"It's a wonderful feeling to be back, to see a town still coming together," said Patty Wainwright, owner of Mrs. K's Kitchen. Her upside-down scarecrow is nicknamed "Head over Heels."

"Well, between my daughters and my grandkids, we pick a lot of blueberries and blueberry pancakes is one of our specialties -- so it was easy."

The Fall Festival begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with a 10K and is followed by the festival and Octoberfest that runs for the rest of the day.


WNYT Staff

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