CHESTER — Some of Chester’s finest are out in force, standing tall and welcoming visitors to the community.
There’s a fire chief, minister, referee and the church choir. On another road, a pair of nurses and a gardener smile and wave.
Even through they are stuffed with straw or newspaper and don’t speak, Chester’s annual scarecrow display is bringing in plenty of people who enjoy driving around town to see this season’s offerings.
This is the fourth year the Chester Historical Society has spearheaded the unique autumn scarecrow project, offering burlap faces to stuff along with a simple wooden frame for families to use to create their own unique personality to stand in the front yard, on a porch or at the end of a driveway.
It’s also popular enough to make the Derry News/Eagle Tribune’s “603 Reasons” why readers think New Hampshire is special.
The first year drew about 75 scarecrows, selling for $20 apiece to support the Historical Society. This year, there are 450 dotting the Chester landscape.
“The first year, it was a hard sell,” said Jackie Brown, who organizes the annual scarecrow tradition. “I went door to door selling them.”
This year is the best so far, she said, and next year’s crop is already spoken for. She also creates about a dozen extras to fill in around town where a scarecrow might be needed.
Her own historic home has a “Wizard of Oz” display in the front yard.
“I used to do historic characters to match my home,” she said, “but now I want to do things that my grandchildren might enjoy.”
The work begins months in advance, Brown said. She does all the painting on the burlap faces herself. They have a similar style, but expressions can be different. People might ask for special orders. This year Brown, created a goat and a pig.