Scarecrow assembly

Nelson Gowler, operations manager with Gordon Electric Supply, helps put the finishing touches on "Gordie" ahead of the 2019 Scarecrow Festival at Perry Farm. This year's event has been canceled. 

BOURBONNAIS — Bourbonnais Township Park District has canceled all remaining large-scale special events for 2020.

District officials say the decision is based on guidelines set forth in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Phase 4, which restricts events with more than 50 people.

The remaining 2020 events canceled include Scarecrow Hollow, A Night in Sleepy Hollow, Haunted Hike, Cause for Paws and the Turkey Trot.

“We have been talking about it since June,” BTPD Executive Director Hollice Clark said. “We were truly waiting to see if we could hold the events. We wanted to see what [Manteno] Oktoberfest and [Bourbonnais] Friendship Festival would do. When they canceled, it was the right thing to do.”

Clark said the district “looks forward to showcasing Perry Farm in all its splendor each fall so this was a tough call to make. But we have to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and our community.”

“There is great entertainment that brings out young and old alike,” he said. “We will be back next year after we ride this out.”

The annual display of scarecrows created by local groups, organizations, schools and businesses has been a smash in its seven years. In its initial year, there were 54 scarecrows. In each of the last four years, it has sold out its 150 spots.

“It’s a sad day,” Clark said about the event’s cancellation. “The scarecrows brought a lot of creativity from the area. It drew thousands of people to check them out.”

The event typically drew between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors, Clark said.

Clark said he talked to a senior citizen who said the only time she got her husband to walk with her was when the scarecrows were up. They came by daily.

“He told her he found a different detail in each one every day,” Clark said.

Despite the event cancellations, Clark said the district will continue to connect with and serve the community in a variety of ways.

There have been programs converted to virtual offerings and many classes and activities have been designed to abide by social distancing requirements.

The fall program guide will be offered online beginning mid-August. Residents will not be receiving the guide in the mail, but all facilities will have hard copies available.

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