MINT HILL, NC – After over 8700 votes, the results are in for Mint Hill’s Annual Scarecrow Decorating Contest! From 48 entries, a popular vote determined the top three in both business and residential categories.
The top prize in the business category went to Queen’s Grant Community School for “The Knight of the Living Scarecrow.”
“My eighth graders created several sketches of a knight as a scarecrow, since that is our school’s mascot,” said Visual Arts Instructor Toni Thomas. “We also wanted to include a student in our display. The knight is supposed to be watching over the student who is sitting in a desk dressed in a Queen’s Grant uniform. One of our eighth graders came up with the title.”
When Thomas announced the win at a school-wide assembly the Monday after Mint Hill Madness, the students screamed and yelled. “It feels amazing to win first place, especially since it was our first time to enter the contest!” said Thomas. “I hope that every student felt as though they had contributed in some way.”
For their first place win, Queen’s Grant Community School will receive a $500 cash prize courtesy of Novant Health, which the PTI voted to deposit into the Art Department’s budget. “I plan on using the money to purchase some much-needed supplies to continue to grow the k-8 art program at our school,” said Thomas.
First place in the residential category went to Jessica Burns for “The Queen of Hearts.” The idea came to Burns last year when she dressed as the Mad Hatter for Halloween. “A friend offered the card soldiers for us to use, and so the sketching and planning began!” said Burns. “I couldn’t stop with the Queen – she needed the adorable and always late white rabbit by her side!”
Burns was thrilled and thankful to win first place. With Baby Burns arriving any day now, you can count on those cash winnings to be well-used on diapers and other necessities!
Second place in the business category and a $250 cash prize from Novant Health went to Mint Hill Eye’s “Eye Care Crow.” In keeping with both what they do and the spirit of the season, “Eye Care Crow” highlights the creepiness of the eyeball with a headless figure cradling his own eyeball head.
Established in 2019, Mint Hill Eye entered the contest for the first time this year. “We didn’t think we had a chance,” said Aynsley, “but we had a lot of patients and their kids voting for us every day. It definitely made us feel like people are starting to know we’re here.”
Mint Hill Eye hopes to continue the fun by putting their prize money toward a float for Mint Hill’s Christmas Parade. “We want to do a ‘Summer in December’ theme with palm trees, sunglasses, that sort of thing,” said Aynsley. “We want to have our kids participate and let the whole town benefit from it!”
Second place in the residential category went to your favorite Mint Hill Times writer, Mary Beth Foster, for her Minecraft-inspired “Halloween Enderman.” The Fosters love decorating for Halloween and participate in the Scarecrow Contest every year, but they never expected to win! “It was so exciting when we won second place in the Scarecrow Contest that I still have it in my head right now!” said five-year-old Henry Foster three days later. “I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“I was very surprised and very excited at the same time,” added eight-year-old Hannah Foster, who takes complete credit for the idea (but begrudgingly thanks her dad for actually constructing it). “I ran all over the place cheering when they said my mom’s name!”
When asked what he thinks they should do with the prize money, Henry, said, “Prize money? Are you really telling the truth?” His sister suggested purchasing an ice cream store so that she could always have access to ice cream. Mom and Dad are considering more practical uses like Christmas gifts or a weekend getaway.
Third place in the business category and a $100 cash prize went to the State Employees Credit Union’s gravity-defying “Head Over Heels.” SECU employees collaborate every year to create a scarecrow that highlights what Financial Service Representative Maria calls “the credit union style” of putting members first.
For SECU, participating in and winning the scarecrow contest is one more opportunity to connect with their members and the community at large. “We have members come in all the time to talk about the scarecrow,” said Maria. “It opens up a door for us to talk to them more on a personal level and be part of what’s going on in our members’ lives as well.” SECU will decide as a team the best way to use their prize money.
Third place in the residential category went to Nancy Morgan for “Dr. Forest Achion.” Inspired by a sculpture she saw last year, Morgan thought it would be fun to construct a scarecrow from dead branches from the woods behind her house. “This summer a developer bought the 28 acres behind our property and started taking all the trees out to make room for about 83 houses,” explains Morgan, “so I figured it was now or never to make the scarecrow out of the trees/branches. I made the pumpkin head using paper mache, and it has a sad face because we will miss all the trees, wildlife and the view as the colors change.”
For Morgan, creating a scarecrow was never about winning but about making a statement about how Mint Hill is losing its tree canopy and all the beauty if provides. With her winnings, Morgan plans to buy a tree.
Congratulations to all this year’s winners, and thanks to Novant Health for making the Scarecrow Decorating Contest possible year after year!