Charter School scarecrows haunt storefronts
Keep an eye out for scarecrows this week. The Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School (MVPCS) kicked off its 10th annual Island-wide Scarecrow Contest on Tuesday.
"Seeing all the scarecrows on Main Street means Halloween is here," Paul Karasik, MVPCS Development Director said, adding that it also means the businesses that display them are community supporters.
Inspired in 1999 by art teacher Gwendolyn Natusch, the popular 10-year-old fundraiser offers Island businesses the opportunity to display a scarecrow made by Charter School students and volunteers for a donation of $75.
Each year the number of participating businesses has increased, and despite the economy, this year is no exception. Mr. Karasik said he expects the contest to net about $4,000. "Right now we have about 75 participating businesses, but I imagine that by the end of the week that number will rise," he said. "It always does once other business owners see those scarecrows pop up."
Scarecrows are haunting new spots in Vineyard Haven this year, such as Island Entertainment and Vineyard Electronics, as well as past haunts such as the Mansion House and EduComp.
An increase in businesses that participate required making a few changes to the contest over the past few years. As the fundraiser's popularity grew, the demand for scarecrows outpaced the number of builders.
To scare up some more scarecrow makers in addition to MVPCS students, the contest was opened to all members of the Island community. The Charter School also expanded the contest theme and offered prizes of higher caliber to increase scarecrow production.
As an incentive, each scarecrow team earns one free admission to the Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven and a chance to participate in a raffle. Raffle prizes include packages of gift certificates donated by Bunch of Grapes, Vineyard Electronics, EduComp, Radio Shack, Summer Shades, and Edgartown Books.
The grand prize is equivalent to $200, second prize $120, and third prize $80.
Zen Hughes, an MVPCS sophomore, wrote this for The Times in connection with a school mentorship program.