The Hartwell Sun to host official voting ballots this year
Scarecrows will be standing guard again this October in downtown Hartwell during the Scarecrow Bash, but a few rules are changing for the 2019 edition.
Scarecrows will need to be on the courthouse square to participate in the official contest and the people’s choice ballots will be available in The Hartwell Sun.
The changes are an attempt to both prevent people from making their own unofficial ballots and to hopefully draw more people to downtown Hartwell, said Hartwell’s economic and community development director Jason Ford.
He said no one wants to inhibit an organization or individual from participating, but after having nearly 50 scarecrows in the 2018 contest and only about 20 actually on the square, Ford said he hopes the changes will attract more of them to the center of town.
“I want to incentivize people to put them on the square,” Ford said. “Our goal is to draw people to downtown Hartwell.”
If the square fills up, the area will expand, he said.
Businesses will still have a great opportunity to promote themselves and may find even more exposure by being on the square, Ford said.
The same prizes — first through third place in the judged competition and a people’s choice award — will be given out this year, Ford said. But after realizing last year that people were printing off their own ballots instead of using official ballots, Ford said some changes were needed in that department as well.
This year, The Hartwell Sun will publish the official scarecrow voting ballots each week in October leading up to the Halloween Mayor’s Monster Mash celebration, when the winners will be named. Those ballots will still be turned into the orange mailboxes that will placed around the square in October. There is no mistaking newsprint, Ford said, so it will be easy to know the ballots are official.
Scarecrows can begin going up on Friday, Sept. 27. Ford said when placing them on the square, county grounds crews, which take care of the courthouse lawn, asked that they go in to the beds and not the grass and that a platform be used to prevent damage to a new irrigation system.
The final celebration to close the scarecrow competition at the Monster Mash is on track for a change this year too. If the Depot Street infrastructure project is still ongoing on Halloween, the Mash will take place at and around the square, along Forest Avenue and Carolina Street. If the project is completed by then, the party could also double as an unveiling of sorts for what will be a newly updated Depot Street.