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Something to crow about
With more than 5,000 scarecrows around the city, Hoschton is vying for a world record
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One of the many scarecrows around Hoschton. - photo by Claire Miller

HOSCHTON - Hoschton could soon hold a Guinness World Record. The city's bid to break the previous world record for most scarecrows in one area ended Sept.1, and the city more than met its goal.

Organizer Robbie Bettis said that as of last week, more than 5,000 scarecrows had been made.

However, scarecrows are still being counted, and Bettis said the final amount will be announced at 2 p.m. Sept. 27 during the city's fall festival. "We know we're way over the mark," she said. "It's surreal ... it's more than we ever anticipated."

Hoschton's goal was to build 4,000 scarecrows by Sept. 1 to beat the current scarecrow record holder. Cincinnati Horticultural Society in Cincinnati, Ohio, set the previous record in 2003 with 3,314 scarecrows.

Jackie Mathews, Cincinnati Horticultural Society's publicity manager, said the society supports Hoschton's efforts.

"We think it's great that they're stepping up to the plate and getting the community involved and trying to break the record," she said.

However, Mathews said if Hoschton secures the world record, the society may challenge it.

"We wish them the best of luck, and we're definitely keeping an eye on the media to see how they're doing," said Mathews.

Hoschton will not know until November whether the city has secured a spot in the Guinness World Records book.

Bettis said they are still taking photos and numbering scarecrows, and she hopes to send the final results to Guinness soon. Even though Hoschton has made more than 4,000 scarecrows, Bettis said not every one may be accepted by Guinness. "They will scrutinize every photo," she said.

As part of Guinness' requirements, scarecrows must have a stand, be stuffed and "scare crows."

Instead of a Guinness representative traveling from London, England, where the organization is based, Hoschton will use the photographs they have taken, along with a video and two people, to verify the record.

The two people, according to Bettis, must have some notoriety. So far, Shane Short, president of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have been asked to judge.

World record or not, the contest has brought the community together.

"(The number of scarecrows is) more than we ever anticipated," said Bettis. "Everybody in subdivisions challenged each other. They jumped on board and we're very, very excited about it and hope the numbers are true for Guinness."

In addition to Hoschton residents, people from different towns helped, including Hiawassee, Loganville, Monroe, Atlanta. There even was some out-of-state help from residents of Tennessee.

Some of the scarecrows are pretty elaborate.

Hoschton resident Robbie Mauldin made a scarecrow baseball game at her house on Bill Watkins Road.

Scarecrow baseball players, coaches and spectators stand frozen in the midst of a heated game.

"We've had the most fun," said Mauldin. "And the people, they've enjoyed it."

Mauldin said she's had several people stop to see the display, including a husband and wife from Forsyth County who stopped and talked with her for a while about the scarecrows.

"We had a good time," she said.

In addition, other creative scenes have popped up across town, including Dorothy and the gang from the "Wizard of Oz," Georgia Power company scarecrows scaling a telephone pole and the UGA football team, among others.

"They look great," said Bettis. "And the creativity, we have been just astounded with."