Boo! Scarecrows take over the Valley
The Lucas & Lewellen tasting room is known for its movable scarecrows and didn't disappoint this year.
The annual Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest is underway. Nearly 200 scarecrows are populating the Valley from Los Olivos to Los Alamos, each the creation of a local business or organization.
The Solvang Third Wednesday committee launched Scarecrow Fest in 2010, which was then held exclusively in America's Danish capital. In 2013, the event went Valleywide, sponsored in part by Visit Santa Ynez Valley. Participants this year represent Solvang (including Ballard), Los Olivos, Los Alamos and Buellton. Locals and visitors get to vote on their favorites -- ballot boxes are located by every scarecrow -- in each town. They then compete for the best in the Valley Harvest Cup. The defending 2015 champion is the Los Olivos business Honey Paper.
The Lucas & Lewellen wine tasting room in Solvang is known for its moveable scarecrows and didn't disappoint this year. Their entry is an homage to the rock band ZZ Top, whose frontmen wear long, full beards.
"We were casting around for ideas and wanted to do a rock 'n' roll theme. ZZ Top has such a distinctive look, we went with them," explained manager Andy Moore. Their "LL Top" scarecrows move side to side, thanks to a jerry-rigged barbecue rotisserie motor devised by part-time employee Mark Liddi, a retired lieutenant with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.
"He can engineer anything we can dream up," Moore said. ZZ Top music plays in sync with the movements.