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Nibley’s scarecrow fest gets kids to read for prizes

September 21st, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

 Story and photo by Mitch Henline

NIBLEY – The Scarecrow Festival was bigger and better in its second year. Held at Morgan Farms, the celebration was extended by two days, drew more than 1,000 visitors and had five more entries than it had in its inaugural year.

Papa Murphy’s Pizza built scarecrows of Steven Spielberg and Indiana Jones. Photo by Mitch Henline.

“It was a fun event,” said Councilman Bryan Hansen, who was in charge of the festival. “We aren’t really planning to get larger and bigger. We want to keep it a small-town family event. We’re not trying to create some regional festivity. It really is just to try and meet our immediate needs.”

There were a total of 34 entries this year. Each entry included at least one scarecrow and was centered on the theme “Proud to be an American.” Most of the scarecrows resembled famous people in American history. Write-ups were also included with each entry that explained the significance and the history of the person it represented. Some of the scarecrows included Walt Disney, Neil Armstrong and Thomas Edison. The tallest of the bunch was a mini-replica of the Statue of Liberty made entirely out of corn stalks.

While the festival was a fun event for the children in the community to attend, it also encouraged them to read.

“It corresponds with the Get-a-Brain Read-a-thon, which is a read-a-thon between the three elementary schools in Nibley to see which of them can read the most minutes in that week-long period,” Hansen said. “So we give awards to the schools and classes that read the most minutes during that time.”

Out of the three elementary schools that participated, Nibley Elementary read the most minutes and won the competition for the second year in a row. “We figure out how many minutes Nibley Elementary has to have to win the contest because we are competitive,” said school principal Jeanette Christenson. “Then we tell the children that if every student will read for this many minutes every night, we’ll come out on top.”

Christenson said that the students take a walking field trip to the festival and that she thinks the competition really does help encourage them to read more.

“We feel like it is a great way at the beginning of the year to kick it off,” Christenson said. “We expect our students to read for 20 minutes every night – whether that is somebody reading aloud to them or reading with the family or reading independently – the requirement is 20 minutes a night. This is a great way to kick it off because in order to win the contest most students have to read an hour a night.”

The scarecrow festival was started last year in honor of Nibley’s sister city in the United Kingdom, North Nibley, which holds a scarecrow festival every year.


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