LET IT CROW: Scarecrow Festival Brings Autumn Joy to Mahone Bay

(Illustration: Jessie McLaughlin)

The Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival will welcome legions of both scarecrows and their human admirers to the small town this autumn. The annual festival takes place from September 23 to October 9.

The festival has been around since the mid-1990s and draws thousands of visitors each year.

“In its prime, before Covid had its way with us, we were having thirty thousand visitors on a weekend,” says Sylvia Jackson, a volunteer and president of the festival. 

Starting in late September, scarecrows will begin springing up in the yards of local businesses and residences.

(Illustration: Jessie McLaughlin)

Strolling through Mahone Bay last year, one could see scarecrow versions of the Big Bad Wolf, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and a shepherd tending to his sheep.

This year, Jackson says there’s an exciting scarecrow completely unlike the rest: a Where’s Waldo scarecrow.

While the rest of the scarecrows remain fixed in place, Waldo will be moved to a new location every day. “He’s gonna be visiting all the other scarecrows in town,” Jackson says. This creates a fun challenge for visitors to try to find Waldo as he jumps from one hiding place to the next.

Aside from whimsical scarecrows, the festival hosts an antique fair, children’s activities, theatrical shows, and a pie contest.

The pie contest will be judged by local pie connoisseur Jennah Barry, owner of Famous Town Pie Shop, as well as Sachin Seth, a former contestant on the Great Canadian Baking Show.

The only downside to this delightful festival is getting a scare when you inevitably mistake a scarecrow for a human being lurking in the shadows.

Jackson has a grandmotherly scarecrow hanging clothes on the line in her yard called “Nanny”. Recently, a friend called her to say that they had mistaken the scarecrow for a real person and wondered who the stranger in Jackson’s yard was.

Scarecrow enthusiasts can visit the festival’s Facebook and Instagram pages for more information about upcoming events. 


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