Though apple picking, leaf peeping, and pumpkin spice in everything define the autumn season for many in the North Carolina mountains, scarecrows are a notable symbol of farms and the fall harvest in Buncombe County. The annual Scarecrow Festival returns to Lake Julian Park in Oct. 23–Nov. 1. Buncombe County residents are invited to construct scarecrows as an individual, family, group, school, business, club, or organization. There is no cost to enter.

Entries will be judged on originality/creativity, design, and workmanship. First, second, and third place winners will be announced in the categories of Traditional, Recycle and Reduce, and Funny. Prizes will be awarded for Judges’ Best of Show and People’s Choice. All entries will receive one vehicle admission to Festival of Lights, the immensely popular nocturnal display of winter scenes that has become a mountain tradition.

“In the recent past, we’ve celebrated the changing color of the leaves at Lake Julian with thousands of kids and families at Fall Festival on a Saturday in October,” says Peyton O’Conner, Director of Buncombe County Recreation Services. “While we’ve also got Fall-O-Ween planned for Oct. 29, the Scarecrow Festival will allow families to explore the park at their own pace and on their own schedule while observing COVID-19 safety guidelines such as wearing a mask and keeping at least six feet of distance between them and others who don’t live in their house.”

Register by Oct. 19. Find the event on Facebook or visit

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