Verbena Eat Right Now, located at 103 Ocean St. in South Portland, has participated in the Pumpkinhead Scarecrow contest since the event started six years ago. ANGELA PAOLUCCI/For the South Portland Sentry

SOUTH PORTLAND — As the chilly weather creeps in, the sixth annual Harvestfest is drawing close. It’s time for the Pumpkinhead Scarecrows of South Portland to make their appearance.

Local businesses in the South Portland and Cape Elizabeth area participate in the festive fun by creating scarecrows with pumpkin heads to display outside their storefronts. The contest asks each business to create a theme for their scarecrows which must be displayed by Oct. 22 and will remain displayed until Oct. 31. Every participant will get a free listing in the paper for both weeks that the contest is running in the form of voting ballots to be available in the Sentry newspaper Friday, Oct. 26 and Monday Nov. 2. Entering the contest is free, however, any business that wishes to feature their scarecrow creation in an ad may purchase one for $60.

The winner is chosen by residents of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth and will be picked on Monday Nov. 5. The first prize winner will get a ½ page color ad in the Sentry and the second prize winner will get a ¼ page color ad. Also, voters will choose one participant to receive a $25 gift card. On top of that, voters get a chance to win a $25 gift card to the first place contest winner’s business by being put into a random drawing.

Belissimo salon in South Portland located on 472 Ocean St. is participating in the sixth annual Harvestfest for the first time this year. ANGELA PAOLUCCI/Journal Tribune

This event was created and has been run by Cindy Castaline, account executive and ad. representative of the South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Sentry newspaper. She was inspired to create this event from a weekend she spent in North Conway where she became enchanted by handmade scarecrows and painted pumpkins she saw in her travels. Castaline decided to set this event in the South Portland area since there’s some small, growing communities in the area such as the businesses on Ocean Avenue.

“It makes the community get together,” Castaline said. Creating and holding an event like this for small local businesses gives way to an environment where it doesn’t have to be all work, but there can be play, too.

“It’s something fun that breaks up the day and shows there’s more to it than worry about paying the bills” Castaline said.

These businesses, though small, are busy and working hard to keep things running, but there’s a great sense of community to be felt by participating in a group effort to make the holiday season more fun.

Local restaurant Verbena Eat Right Now has participated in the contest every year since it started as a part of joining the fun as a business and as a part of the community.

The owner of Verbena, Melissa Coriaty said there’s several reasons why her business participates.

“It’s a community thing, it’s fun to see what everyone else is doing,” Coriaty said.

She said that in the past, they’ve kept to a relevant theme to their business and made a giant version of their coffee cups to use to make the scarecrow itself.

“It’s a fun way for staff to collaborate on something lighthearted since food service can be intense” Coriaty said.

With the help from her staff, they’ve taken time from their busy business come together since the first year to participate in this festive fun.

Belissimo, a salon that’s been in business for over 40 years will be entering the pumpkinhead scarecrow contest for the first time this year.

Jamie Doucette, daughter of Belissimo’s owner, Dani Nisbet, said that they’ve decided to join the contest this year to be an active and fun part of the community that participates.

“I think it gets noticed throughout the community if people participate. It’s a fun thing for the community to do,” Doucette said.

She says that they’ll probably go with a salon theme scarecrow to go follow suit with their business.

Doucette said that putting the scarecrow together and forming the creativity behind it may be a challenge but she’s very excited and enthusiastic to be a part of the event.

For more information, call Cindy Castaline at 780-9019 or at [email protected]

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