You may have seen scarecrows erected in farmers’ fields to ward off pests, but if you run into these lifelike sculptures on a dark night in October lurking along the sidewalks in this town, you might think you are in the middle of a horror movie. On the other hand, if you see them on a sunny day you will think this is the cutest village on the California Coast.
I, alas, drove into town on a rainy night last week after suffering a flat tire on a dark stretch of highway 1 by the sea, and was immediately freaked out by the haunting, life-size figures—some covered by protective plastic bags—until street lights in the town center revealed the truth: I had stumbled upon the Cambria Scarecrow Festival, “Where Whimsy Runs Rampant”.
Half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles the eighth annual festival provides a delightful display of the imagination and community spirit hidden in two of the most charming towns along the Central Coast.
Each year, local students, residents, and businesses construct and maintain these fanciful creatures to celebrate local creativity.
This year adds an historical flavor, since the hamlet of Cambria is also celebrating its 150th anniversary.