Fall fun in downtown Springfield with ChalkFest, Project Scare-a-Crow

National Trail Parks and Recreation's ChalkFest returns Saturday to National Road Commons in Springfield. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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National Trail Parks and Recreation's ChalkFest returns Saturday to National Road Commons in Springfield. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Tradition renewed after year’s absence due to COVID-19.

Pumpkins and falling leaves signal the autumn season for many. In downtown Springfield on an October Saturday each year, the signs are chalk and scare-a-crows.

Scare-a-crows were created by Project Jericho families along with local businesses and are on display in National Road Commons Park in downtown Springfield through Oct. 28. The fourth ChalkFest event is Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at National Road Commons.

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ChalkFest is a chance to see the scare-a-crows and chalk art designs and competitions, live music, exhibits, food trucks and more. The event is free and presented by Project Jericho and National Trail Parks and Recreation.

While scarecrows are traditionally fixtures in country fields, each October the stuffed figures take up residence in the park with a theme. This year’s is cartoon characters.

Kristi Limes, Project Jericho success coordinator, is happy to renew the tradition after a year’s absence due to COVID-19. Five families, a smaller than usual number, created the scare-a-crows at the Heritage Center of Clark County.

They could have done the work with one family a night, but Limes said being together enhanced the creativity.

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“It has a joint purpose with multiple generations coming together and even the little ones got to be involved, watching the adults using drills and hacksaws,” she said. “We were able to socially distance and do this safely and they also gave me constructive criticism for my own scare-a-crow.”

The cartoon scare-a-crows will range from the classics to the newer with The Jetsons, Foghorn Leghorn, the Roadrunner, Doc McStuffins, Inspector Gadget and SpongeBob SquarePants represented. Community contributions will add even more characters.

“The huge excitement for our families is to be part of the community tradition,” said Limes.

People can again vote on their favorite scare-a-crows and the top four will win prizes. Voting is offered online at National Trail’s website.

ChalkFest is a chance to see how something simple as sidewalk chalk can create unique art as guest artist Boy Blue returns and teams and individuals compete with their unique designs. Limes stressed anybody can have fun there.

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Visitors can do their own sidewalk chalk designs and a children’s art activity with the Springfield Museum of Art, hear live music from Adelee and Gentry and enjoy food truck options.

“It’s the feel of it that makes ChalkFest special — you can bring the kids but it’s relevant to adults, it’s outside and they can do this together,” Limes said.

“It’s an art form that anybody can do and then it disappears. ChalkFest is something to experience in the moment with its great energy.”

Project Jericho is a program of Clark State College supported through funding from the Clark County Department of Job and Family Services, Clark County Juvenile Court, Ohio Arts Council, The Turner Foundation, Community Health Foundation, and private contributions.

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HOW TO GO

What: ChalkFest

Where: National Road Commons Park, 21 Fisher St., Springfield

When: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Admission: Free

More info: www.facebook.com/NTPRD/

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