September 27, 2006 | By: Terri McLean
FLEMINGSBURG, Ky.

For centuries, scarecrows have been used to frighten things away, namely birds from farmers’ fields. But in Fleming County, these raggedy creatures are being erected to have just the opposite effect.

Beginning Oct. 1, more than 80 scarecrows will be on display for the Great Scarecrow Roundup, an event designed to draw people into the northeastern Kentucky county, said Donna Fryman, family and consumer sciences agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. 

“Our intent was for tourism, to get folks to come in,” said Fryman, who initiated the event three years ago to rev up tourism efforts in Flemingsburg and Fleming County. 

The Great Scarecrow Roundup, which lasts through Halloween, appears to be doing the trick. Every year, carloads of people with event maps in tow can be seen driving around the county in search of the carefully constructed scarecrows displayed at businesses, churches, schools and homes, she said. 

The roundup has become so successful, in fact, that Fryman and the event’s “spokescrow,” Bucket Head Bob, have been visiting other Kentucky communities interested in promoting tourism in similar fashion. The pair even traveled to Vermont this summer to talk about the roundup at the National Extension Tourism Conference.

“He (Bucket Head Bob) was a hit wherever he went,” Fryman said of the Vermont conference, which was attended by people from nearly every state, Canada and several foreign countries.

Bucket Head Bob serves as the model for the roundup, which also includes a “friendly competition” to determine the most popular scarecrow, Fryman said. A ballot system is in place to help residents and visitors cast their votes for the likes of Joe Jughead, Forest Stump, Gardening Gerty and Sgt. Buckethead Bill, to name a few of last year’s entries.

“We like it because it’s an upbeat event that makes you smile,” Fryman said.

While the event is aimed at increasing tourism, it has had another positive effect: bringing the community together. Fryman said that each year more local businesses, organizations, school groups and individuals participate in creating the sometimes elaborate scarecrow displays.

“It’s brought folks together,” she said.

And Bucket Head Bob, the event spokescrow, has become such a well-known – and beloved – figure in Fleming County that he is “more popular than Santa Claus in the Christmas parade,” Fryman joked. 

Bucket Head Bob now has a wife, Mop Bucket Millie, and two children, Sandpail Sam, and Sandpail Susie, all of whom will be available for viewing at the Kettle Top Restaurant on Elizaville Road in Flemingsburg.

The Great Scarecrow Roundup will take place throughout the month of October. Maps detailing each scarecrow’s location are available at the Fleming County Extension Office, also located on Elizaville Road, or at the Fleming County Chamber of Commerce in downtown Flemingsburg. Ballots are available at these offices as well and at local newspaper offices and several businesses. For more information, call the Extension office at 606-845-4641.

Contact: 

Donna Fryman, 606-845-4641