Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Scarecrow Festivals 2016

Looking for Scarecrow Fun?

Creatures made of straw, dressed as goblins or other dark spirit forces have long been part of America’s agricultural lore. They were designed to scare away intruders like crop-eating birds and animals, as well as thieves who would steal garden produce. In some cases it was believed that as advocates scarecrows encouraged abundance. 

Throughout history there have been crop protectors who could invite in the divine blessings of the food gods like Priapus the Greek god of farmers. In all cases, whether welcoming or frightening, scarecrows had an important job to do; they took care of the crops when the farmer was away.

Historically, the scarecrow as we know it here in America has strong bonds of kinship with other scarecrow spirits around the world. For example, the elaborate Slavic “spirits of the field.” The Polish starch (spirit), for example, was reputed to use riddles and difficult questions on suspected thieves, with threats of disease for the trespasser who answered incorrectly.

To help you have some scarecrow fun, we’ve compiled a list of upcoming scarecrow festivals:

3rd Annual Eureka Scarecrow Festival 2016. Eureka, California.  October 1 at The Timbers. Join us for lots of crafts, exciting airbrush tattoos, wax hands, games, food, a bounce house, and more. Details. http://scarecrowfestivaleureka.com/
Scarecrow Festival 2016. October 7-9, 2016. St Charles, Illinois. For 30+ years, this award-winning festival has brought a tradition for thousands of families across the Midwest. Details: http://scarecrowfest.com/
Cambria Harvest Festival October 8-9, 2016. Cambria, California One of the most artful and unique scarecrow festivals in the country. Details: cambriascarecrows.com
7th Annual Scarecrow Festival October 15, 2016.  Cross Creek, Texas. Besides the collection of creative, full-size scarecrows, families will enjoy live music, apple bobbing, face painting, pumpkin decorating and more. Details http://www.crosscreektexas.com/scarecrow-fest
Windsor Harvest Jamboree October 23, 2016. This family oriented event offers pumpkin painting, scarecrow building, pumpkin bowling, and pumpkin car races.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Autumn Apple Lore

Give me juicy autumnal fruit ripe and red from the orchard

-Walt Whitman

Apple Lore Fills the Harvest Season

What would September’s harvest be without apples? Just look at the folklore and folk sayings that surrounds this amazing piece of fruit.

  • The projection in the neck formed by the thyroid cartilage was caused by a piece apple caught in Adam's throat.  
  • Don't upset the apple cart.
  • The apple of your eye is actually your pupil.
  • One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.As American as apple pie.

And here’s some information about Johnny Appleseed the American folk hero credited with planting apple trees wherever he went:

  • Born John Chapman (1774-1845) he was an itinerant bearded and bare-footed pioneer nurseryman.
  • He won the respect of settlers and Native Americans alike as he made his way from his native Massachusetts to the Pennsylvania/ Ohio/Indiana frontier, planting apple nurseries.
  • He traded apple seeds and seedlings for food, clothing and other essentials.
  • September 26 is Johnny Appleseed Day.

Did You Know This About Apples?

The apple tree is a member of the rose family. Wild apple trees, called crab apples, also grow in the U.S. 

Cultivated and prized in ancient Rome, the apple was brought to England by the conquering legions. The immigrant apple came to America with the early English settlers. It is now widely cultivated in all temperate region. 

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Having A Laugh on Sherlock

Even Sherlock Holmes

has comedic challenges


Sherlock Holmes is one of the Western World’s best-known detectives. This fictional Victorian era sleuth was created by Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle. So was his right hand man, Dr. Watson.

It is worth noting that Doyle introduced the character of Detective Sherlock Holmes to the world in 1890 in the novel, “A Study in Scarlet”. He went on to write 60 stories about Sherlock Holmes. 

The legendary folk heroes - beloved because of their creativity and persistence - have saved countless people, protected the innocent, and have kept the scales of justice balanced.
And the world has loved them for it. That’s why their stories appear in some many folkloric ways: stories, books, plays and film.

One of the more modern takes on the sleuthful duo’s famous “Hounds of Baskerville” is a lighter-hearted play called “Baskerville, A Sherlock Holmes Mystery’  in which twists turn, deeds, deceits and confusion  reign supreme in the staged moors of Devonshire.

Until the end, of course.

You can catch this production in the North San Francisco Bay Area Sept. 19-Oct. 6, 2016. Here are the details provided by Spreckel's Theatre Company's award-winning publicist Kim Taylor:

  The North Bay's award-winning Spreckels Theatre Company presents Ken Ludwig's fast-paced comedy "Baskerville, A Sherlock Holmes Mystery"

From award-winning mastermind of mayhem, Ken Ludwig ("Lend Me a Tenor"), comes this fast-paced mystery-comedy about detective Sherlock Holmes solving his most notorious case.

It's elementary. To find an ingenious killer, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson brave the desolate moors and unravel a web of clues and deceit to crack the mystery of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” Five actors portray more than 40 characters with accents, disguises and quick changes that defy explanation.

Featuring Steve Cannon as Sherlock Holmes; Christopher Schloemp as Dr. Watson; and Zane Walters, Kim Williams and Larry Williams double as variety of characters.

Directed by David L. Yen

Time: 8  p.m. Fri. & Sat.; 2 p.m. Sun.; and 7:30 p.m. Thur. Oct. 6.

Location: Spreckels Performing Arts Center, Bette Condiotti Theater, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park, CA 94928

Cost:  $16-$26 ($16 children 12 & under; $22 students; $24 seniors/youth; $26 general. Student Rush with ID at box office 10 minutes before curtain $12. Reservations recommended.

Related Information

Photo by Eric Chazankin