DADE CITY — The Pioneer Florida Museum and Village has planned an occasion for families to celebrate fall's recent arrival: the annual Scarecrow Festival.
This year's festival, which will take place Saturday at the museum, is the 12th in Dade City and the third at the museum, according to Stephanie Black, the museum's executive director. It will feature attractions that cater to kids. But adults, she said, can have plenty of fun, too.
"There's something for all ages," Black said. "We have more events and more vendors than we've ever had."
Attendees may pick and purchase pumpkins out of the festival's pumpkin patch. They can interact with animals at its petting zoo. They can see a fire truck, a police car and a TECO bucket truck up close.
There will be carnival games and bounce houses, face painting and barrel train rides. Visitors also can navigate a maze made out of hay bales.
The festival will feature two performances by Mr. Tommy, a musician who used to play guitar for Eddie Money and now makes children's music.
Black expects the festival's pumpkin drop to be another highlight. That's when a 4-foot-wide papier-mâché pumpkin stuffed with candy and toys will be dropped to the ground from the 50-foot-tall bucket above the TECO truck. It should burst on impact, like a piñata, after which children can gather the goodies in two rounds, divided by age: 2 to 6 and 7 to 12.
Another of the festival's draws will be the opportunity it provides for making scarecrows. Using straw and clothes donated by Solutions Thrift Store, those in attendance can create and take home scarecrows of all sizes.
Vendors will sell food and provide shopping opportunities, Black said, and the museum's concessions will be open.
In addition to the outdoor events, indoor options will be available.
"All the museum buildings will be open and staffed with docents in period costumes," Black said.
The festival has attracted an estimated 3,000 guests in years past, she said. This year, she hopes for even more.
"It's an old-fashioned-type event," she said, and that is important. "It gets (families) to put down their cellphones and connect with each other."