Shangri La Botanical Garden and Nature Center’s Scarecrow Festival will soon be in full swing, featuring creations designed by local businesses, schools, churches, families, groups and individuals. This annual festival will take place from Oct. 15 through Nov. 9, and will feature an amazing array of unique scarecrow designs, fall flowers and autumn decorations displayed throughout Shangri La.

Ranging from funny to festive, dozens of scarecrows line the walkways along with hundreds of pumpkins, transforming the gardens into an autumn paradise. Scarecrow designs include everything from traditional scarecrows to entire scarecrow scenes featuring groups of characters.

Another exciting scarecrow-related event will be the Where’s Willow the Scarecrow? Contest. Members of the community who find a specially-designed scarecrow hidden around Orange will have a chance to be one of three weekly winners who will be awarded a guest pass to Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. This contest will run throughout the Scarecrow Festival, and all weekly winners will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing that will take place during Autumn Fair. People who find Willow the Scarecrow are asked to call 221-6656 during regular business hours to find out if they are a winner.

Throughout the Scarecrow Festival, visitors are invited to vote for their favorite scarecrow as well as guess the weight of a giant pumpkin on display in the garden. Prizes for the most popular scarecrows will be awarded at Shangri La’s Autumn Fair, the conclusion of the Scarecrow Festival, on Nov. 9. In addition, one lucky individual who makes the closest guess to the weight of a giant pumpkin at Shangri La will win four tickets to the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, playing at the Lutcher Theater on Nov. 16.

Autumn Fair is a family-friendly event with a wide variety of crafts, fun and games for children of all ages.  A new event for this year’s Autumn Fair is the Adam’s Bayou Hayride. Throughout the day, families will have an opportunity to take a staff-guided hay wagon ride through areas of Shangri La not traditionally open for public visitation and enjoy the late season allure of the bayou. Hayrides will leave from the Children’s Garden three times each hour from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Shangri La Director Rick Lewandowski observes, “The Scarecrow Festival is sure to tickle your fancy, engage your senses and be a great way to enjoy some family time together in a fun and wholesome atmosphere. It is really exciting to see the new creations that participants come up with each year.”

STARK Cultural Venues’ Members may also take part in an exclusive Members-Only Evening Celebration on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. Members are invited to come dressed as a scarecrow, enjoy light, seasonal refreshments, and take part in a fun scavenger hunt to win a prize. Stroll along the pathways to vote for a favorite display in the new Member’s Favorite scarecrow category. This year’s event offers SCV members the chance to meet of the groups and individuals from the community who created some of the scarecrows on display. For details on becoming an SCV member, visit

Located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange, Shangri La is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  For more information, visit