Thousands attend Viera Voice Scarecrow Stroll & Harvest Festival


The winner of the costume contest Age 6 to 9 division was Avery Rather, 9, who designed his own red-yarn-bearded viking costume and 8-foot Viking dragon boat, with only some help cutting cardboard from parents Carrie and Richard Rather.

photo by Linda Wiggins

Great weather, prizes and creative scarecrows were possible reasons attendance at the Viera Voice Scarecrow Stroll & Harvest Festival at The Avenue Viera Oct. 22 topped last year's record attendance of more than 2,000 visitors.

Winners were announced from the community stroll portion of the event held Oct. 6 through 20, a drawing from among those who saw all 36 'crows.

One of the Mini-Crow judges, Malak Hammad, presents the winning trophy and $50 cash prize to Kiley Dwenger in the Age 10 to 15 division for the creative Pioneer Crow. | PHOTO BY LINDA WIGGINSRay and Rosanne Bessenaire won first prize, choice of LEGOLAND four-pack of tickets or $1,800 in tickets to Sky Zone trampoline center. Marcia, Sean and daughter Marlee “Pepper” Jeddrie won the second prize choice. 

Wild coincidence: out of the hundreds of Scarecrow Stroll participants, Rosanne and Marcia just happen to work at the same place, Space Coast Lymphedema Clinic on Spyglass Hill Road in Viera, and are close friends.

So, they decided among themselves who took what. Pepper is a big fan of Sky Zone, and she was the one behind getting the whole family to tour the Scarecrow Stroll. The Bessenaires' son, Brian, an architect who loves LEGOs and still asks for builder sets for Christmas, will fly in for the holidays with his girlfriend and go to the theme park with his parents, and they will buy another pair of tickets so Brian's sister, Kim, and her husband Marty Meehan can join them.

“This event was such a great idea. I discovered so many great businesses I didn't know existed, and I found a brand new restaurant in the place of one that closed. What a great way to get to know more about the community, and it was a blast,” Rosanne Bessenaire said.

Dr. Jamie Rost with The TECH Project won the remaining prize of $100 for seeing at least 17 of the 36 scarecrows and donated it to Nana's House, the event charity that provides private Christian homes as an alternative to state-funded foster care.

The People's Choice for favorite scarecrow on the stroll went to Viera Charter School for “VCS Athletics is One in a Minion,” with “Despicable Me” minions made from mini bales of hay.

Sickly Stein of Health First's Viera Hospital took first place for creative crow and the $500 cash prize. | PHOTO BY LINDA WIGGINSJudged by an independent panel, the award for Most Creative, Artistic Scarecrow went to “Sickly Stein” from Health First's Viera Hospital, made by volunteers. The $500 prize awarded by Viera Voice went toward expenses, including a donation of $125 to the event charity, Nana's House, to purchase the 'crow at silent auction so they can make it bigger and better next year.

Silent auction of the scarecrows raised nearly $1,000 for the charity.

“What a tremendous event, and we made lots more forever friends,” Nana's House founder Kim Frodge said.

Best mini-crow winners of $50 each in their age division were Kiley Dwenger, 12, for Pioneer Crow and Amy Scalia, 9, for Harry Potter Crow.

The festival produced dozens of excellent costumes, including a Minituar Battlebot with life-size remote control. Avery Rather, 9, won for his LEGO viking and dragon ship, while Meechai Kerr won for dressing as a potted bush. Each of three age divisions won $50.

The biggest winners were the silent auction winners of the creative 'crows.

Ashish Udeshi bought Fresh Market's Scary Chef Crow.

“I am going to scare the kids and maybe the wife,” he joked of spouse Deepika Aneja. “My friend told me he came last year and bought a bunch of the scarecrows that he uses to decorate his house, so that gave me the idea. A lot of hard work went into these scarecrows, that's for sure.”