10/19/09 — Goldsboro High Key Club, DGDC decorate city with scarecrows

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Goldsboro High Key Club, DGDC decorate city with scarecrows

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 19, 2009 1:47 PM

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Goldsboro Key Club members Joshua Phillips, left, Bayonni Handy, Nathan Williams and Kiera Rowe put some finishing touches on one of the scarecrows they made.

Lorne Edwards II wants to be a mortician when he graduates.

It was perhaps fitting, then, that he designed one of the more gruesome -- yet oddly culinary -- scarecrows lining the streets of downtown Goldsboro.

The scarecrows are a project that teamed the Goldsboro Key Club with the Downtown Golds-boro Development Corporation.

About 40 businesses and organizations, including the Goldsboro Fire and Police departments, have custom-designed Halloween-themed mannequins placed outside their doors.

At least when it isn't raining, that is. The drizzly conditions the past few weeks have meant that many of the scarecrows -- artifacts of the "Spook-tacular Scarecrow Build-off" -- had to do their spooking inside.

Edwards, an 18-year-old member of the Goldsboro Key Club, said the owners of the Lotus Bistro on North John Street wanted something both scary yet somehow related to serving food.

The Key Club member's answer to that request was a scarecrow with a "Predator" alien head, holding in its outstretched arm a skeleton on a platter.

"It's kind of like Predator serving you a plate of death," Edwards explained.

The scarecrow project was born out of Key Club Kiwanis adviser Becky Craig's visit to Leesburg, Fla., where she encountered a similar project.

"I was just with my husband on a business trip to Florida last fall -- one of his clients is in Leesburg. He had his camera, as he always does, and we thought, you know these scarecrows are great, and why couldn't we do this in Goldsboro."

Mrs. Craig brought those photos home with her, with the idea that the Key Club might emulate Leesburg's scarecrow exhibition in downtown Goldsboro.

"These kids are up for everything," Mrs. Craig said of the Key Club members. "They're very motivated for community service, throughout the year."

Mrs. Craig contacted the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation about the project, and DGDC employee Laura Landers put together a brochure and a letter to ask businesses if they wanted to participate.

The correspondence got some responses, but even more businesses decided to participate after Key members toured the town and talked to business owners, Ms. Landers said.

The skeleton's weren't free to the businesses -- they could either choose a scarecrow core of their own to decorate for $25 or for $50 allow the Key Club to decorate the scarecrow to their liking.

Key Club President Joshua Phillips said he felt the scarecrow project would serve downtown Goldsboro businesses well.

"We figured it would be a fun thing, a tourist attraction, and good for the city of Goldsboro, and to attract customers as well," the 16-year-old said.

Bayonni Handy, 17, serves a media adviser to the Key Club. Handy said he honed his selling skills while trying to convince business owners they needed a scarecrow.

"We learned probably a lot of business skills, you explain it like you're trying to throw a (sales) pitch to someone," he said.

Kierra Rowe said she learned to be less shy -- although her group of Key Club peers said that Miss Rowe's demeanor depended on the situation.

"She's wide open at school," Edwards said.

Miss Rowe designed a recycling-themed scarecrow, complete with second-hand bottles and cans for the hay man's pants. She said she hopes the scarecrow might inspire people to recycle.

Ms. Landers, the downtown promoter, said the scarecrow contest was also a nice lead-in for the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation's annual "Boo It Downtown."

The Oct. 30 event, from 4 to 6 p.m., is a free trick or treat event that also features hay rides, fortune tellers, games and other carnival-type fare.

The downtown promoter said she thinks the Scarecrow Build-off is a nice lead-in to the annual "Boo It" event.

"They're just really neat," Ms. Landers said. "And we've really enjoyed seeing the decorations downtown. I think the merchants have, too."

The "Spook-tacular Scare-crow Build-off" is also a contest. Any Goldsboro resident can vote for his or her favorite in ballot boxes at Goldsboro City Hall and at the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation building adjacent to the Wayne County Courthouse.