You may have noticed scarecrows popping up all over town.
In an effort to increase downtown foot traffic and promote Fourth Street businesses, local merchant Skip Dahms of Allens Treasure Chest recently began recruiting participants to create scarecrows in front of their buildings.
“It doesn’t cost anything to create a scarecrow and we already have those Walking Tour signs SACBA put up,” Dahms said. “I thought it would be cool to have each business put up a scarecrow kind of representing themselves, and create a scarecrow walk out of it.”
He noted there are some new businesses downtown that people may not be aware of like a swimming pool store, tattoo parlor and remote-control car store.
“We’ve also got the Salem Civic Theater on the horizon,” he said. “I don’t know how many people know about that. We need to try and get a little momentum going and get some things flowing.”
In addition to Fourth Street, Dahms has approached other Salem businesses and government entities about putting up scarecrows. Main Street Café put up a large display, KSMO radio and Slabs Grill added scarecrows and the Dent County Judicial Building has two at its entrance.
The Dent County Courthouse now features a row of four scarecrows. The City of Salem administrative offices have a pumpkin-faced scarecrow dressed as a lineman. The Salem Public Library scarecrow looks like Pete the Cat. The post office entry stresses breast cancer awareness.
Chamber of Commerce director Tabatha Utley said participants are showing their creativity. The Bank of Salem created two scarecrows from hay bales that look like Minions from the “Despicable Me” movies.
“The idea is to draw more attention to downtown businesses,” she said. “They can leave their scarecrows up for month and liven up downtown a little bit for the holiday.”
Dahms said he realizes not everyone wants to participate on Fourth Street and that’s why he widened the scope. “Our focus was trying to get everybody downtown to play, but we’re also recruiting other businesses,” he said. “It’s a simple advertising opportunity for them to put a scarecrow up on a pole to sit there for the month and everybody to walk by and see.”
Two October events are in the works. A street carnival is planned for Oct .19 and a trunk or treat is set for Oct. 26, the Saturday before Halloween, in the library parking lot. “That will allow local businesses to promote themselves and is also a family-fun thing for the kids to come down to,” Dahms said.
“There are a few things we’re trying to create for this month and ultimately not everything has to be focused on downtown.” A pumpkin carving contest is one possibility.
“I’d love to see all of us different groups or people put our heads together to promote businesses,” he said, mentioning an organization-sponsored fall bingo or fun run as examples. “We could have a full month of activities, have them posted at different businesses, and it would help the overall for everybody.”
He welcomes input from anyone with an idea for an event or someone interested in organizing and running one.
“By no means is this just a one-man show,” he said. “I’m more than willing to listen to anything and everything.”