Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
The biggest Halloween in tradition in Orange County is back for another year of scary fun.
The annual Scarecrow Festival, which is being held at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange, is back and currently on display through Nov. 9.
The main garden of the facility is literally decorated with more than 60 unique and amazing scarecrows, which range from spooky to funny and include superheroes, carton characters, television personalities and imaginative designs by school groups, businesses, civic organizations and more.
“It’s been a great hit so far,” said Rick Lewandowski, director of Shangri La, of the first week of the Scarecrow Festival. “It’s truly a very special event, and we are so thankful the community decided to share their talents and these wonderful scarecrows with everyone.”
Lewandowski, who assumed the director position of Shangri La in late spring, is enjoying his first experience with the Scarecrow Festival as well.
“It’s been amazing for me to see all of these remarkable, innovative designs,” he added. “People have really put a lot of hard work into this event, and it’s easy to see why it is such a hit with the community.”
The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite scarecrow with prizes being awarded for the most popular scarecrows at Shangri La’s Autumn Fair, which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 9. Guests are also welcome to guess the weight of an extremely large pumpkin on display in the garden. The winner with the closest guess to the weight will receive four tickets to the performance of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Lutcher Theater on Saturday, Nov. 16.
The Autumn Fair on Nov. 9 will include numerous family-friendly activities, including crafts, games, and even the new addition of the “Adam’s Bayou Hayride.” The hayride will give families the opportunity to enjoy a staff-guided tour via a hay wagon ride through areas of Shangri La which are not typically open to the public. Hayrides are available during the Autumn Fair only and leave three times each hour from the Children’s Garden between the hours of 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
“We are ready for some great weather and we are looking forward to a great month of the Scarecrow Festival,” Lewandoski said. “Well recognize all of the winners and be ready to celebrate a great event with the culmination of the Autumn Fair.”
Shangri La is located at 2111 W. Park Ave. in Orange. and is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Visit www.shangrilagardens.org for more information.