Arts and Culture

Shani Gilchrist



Fall family traditions return at Historic Columbia’s Scarecrows In The Garden

Posted 10/4/2013 1:27:00 PM

I go crazy when fall arrives. Stark, raving mad. My husband questioned me about this recently. “I think it’s because summer for South Carolinians is like winter for Minnesotans,” I told him. “After a while you just have to stay inside. Then fall (for us) or spring (for our Midwestern friends) arrives and we feel liberated.”

Part of this liberating feeling is the return to family traditions. One tradition that I’ve started with my seven-year-old son is to visit the Historic Columbia Foundation’s Scarecrows In The Garden. Each year, families, local organizations and businesses are asked to put some creative collaboration to use by building scarecrows that are entered into a competition. Once the entries have been judged and the winners chosen, the scarecrows remain on view through the month of October.

This year the scarecrows are watching over the gardens at the Robert Mills House near downtown Columbia. It’s a magical setting perfect for a stroll and picnic snack with children or friends in the enjoyably milder weather. Kids can participate in a scavenger hunt on the manicured grounds, and visitors can vote for their favorite scarecrow at the Gift Shop through Oct. 26.

For the second year in a row, I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in Scarecrows In the Garden as a judge. My son, as my unofficial adjudication assistant, took the job very seriously. He meticulously photographed every single scarecrow with his iPod and studied the details. I have to say, this year’s entries were extremely creative and well-crafted. Filling out score sheets was a difficult task!

If you’re looking for a fall activity or to start your own family tradition in Columbia, head over to the Robert Mills House this month for a lovely and entertaining stroll. More information can be found at