DADE CITY — The Scarecrow Festival exceeded expectations Saturday during its inaugural appearance as a Pioneer Florida Museum event.
More than 2,000 paying festival-goers came through the gates, which doesn’t include volunteers and children younger than 3 who were admitted free, said Pioneer Florida Museum Director Barbara Russ.
“[It was] stupendous, unexpectedly so,” Russ said. “We did not anticipate so many people. It was more people than we’ve had for any event other than the quilt show in February.”
The numbers were so unexpected that the scarecrow building area ran out of hay and the festival vendors were running out of food. Vendors made trips to local stores to get more supplies. Russ said they will have those issues corrected for next year’s event.
About noon, the wait to get into the festival was reportedly 35 minutes despite efforts by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Posse in helping get vehicles parked.
The Scarecrow Festival, a staple of Dade City fall activities for years, had been held in past years on Dade City’s Main Street as an event of the Downtown Dade City Main Street organization. The Main Street organization closed its doors last March because of a lack of funding.
The Pioneer Florida Museum picked up the event. The festival provides hay for children to build their own scarecrows to take home. A variety of children’s games are operated by local community groups and schools.