STEVENSVILLE -- The big bad wolf will be in Stevensville all week, but he had special company on Monday.
They were twins Jacob and Weston York, 17 months old and cute enough to charm the badness out of any old wolf – especially one dressed in granny clothes.
The boys sat bravely on his tattered bed quilt alongside Red Riding Hood while their parents, Trish and Dave York, snapped a picture to help mark their smoky afternoon stroll past the entries in the seventh annual Stevensville Scarecrow Festival.
The entry, called “Grandma’s House?” and created by the Clothes Closet of Stevensville, was one of 25 in a contest that continues to explore its boundaries and attract roadside gawkers on the highway into Stevensville.
“We’ve had more, but the quality is getting better every year,” said Gary Knapp, president of the Stevensville Art and Sculpture Society, or SASS. “One thing that was different was a lot of them had sort of multimedia aspects to them.”
You couldn’t see it on Monday, but the Headless Horseman’s horse had eyes that lighted up, as did his torso.
When you walked close enough to “Crooked Corporate Tobacco Chris” – a prize-winning creation of Tobacco Free Ravalli – he moaned, “I see you” or “Where you going?” or simply, spookily, “Hey!”
New also this year were the five men and women who entered the “Living Statues” contest. They roamed the town during First Night on Friday, or rather stood stock still most of the time.
“When someone made a donation, they were rewarded with some sort of gesture, or a change of position with a flourish,” Knapp said.
Something that wasn’t new was the creative team of the People’s Choice winner. That’s the big prize, chosen by, well, people – the ones who showed up for Friday night’s festival and, this year, Saturday morning, too.
Knapp said the extra morning of judging upped the total ballots by 25 percent, to 980 people.
“Don’t Text and Fly” was the runaway favorite, he said. It portrays a witch on her broomstick impaled in a lamppost, with a blue Samsung cellphone in hand.
It was the masterpiece of the Lone Rock Girl Scouts, who started entering the scarecrow festival last year and won, also easily, with something called “Monsters Like Girl Scout Cookies Too.”
“Don’t Text and Fly” was again all girl-generated, from the seed idea to the ever-evolving but finally finished product on the sidewalk.
But there were anxious moments as the winners were announced Saturday afternoon, said Penny Bertram, who with Anita Heberle leads the Lone Rock troop.
“They announced third and then second, and one of the girls told me, ‘We couldn’t win first two years in a row,’ ” Bertram said. “So we figured we didn’t win anything.”
When word to the contrary came, “You should have seen them,” she said. “It was so funny. They just jumped up in the air and started to scream, they were so excited.”
They’ll share the $200 first prize on service projects.
The eight Girl Scouts got another unexpected treat. Their sculpture was one of two to receive an “artistic merit” award.
“That shocked the heck out of us,” Bertram said. “I guess the girls didn’t consider it like a work of beauty or art. It was more humorous to them, and the funnier they could make it the better.”
The Lone Rock winners were seventh-graders Sage Chimo, Joslyn Carlson and Lily Johnson; eighth-graders Alex Deschamp, Katie Bertram, Katrina Heberle and Aly Johnson, and Stevensville High ninth-grader Miranda Heberle.
They are cadets; that is, older than your normal Girl Scouts.
“Some of them have been in the troop for 10 years,” Penny Bertram said. “It’s very difficult to keep girls involved, so this is a fun, unique bunch of kids.”
Two of them went to China as Girl Scouts on an unusual two-week trip for Lone Rock middle-schoolers in June. They used their share of last year’s winnings toward the $3,000 each was asked to raise.
The troop initially planned to use last year’s purse to propel them on a trip to Washington, D.C., to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Girl Scouts of America.
“We didn’t raise the money we needed for that,” Bertram said.
Deschamp came up with the solution for one of the dilemmas of “Don’t Text and Fly.”
“They were so worried that people wouldn’t get it. So she made up a poem for the tombstone,” Bertram said.
It reads: “Here lies the witch, cold as stone. Don’t text and fly on your way home.”
The girls had to go some to beat this year’s big round bale-based entry from the Sapphire Animal Hospital. A grimacing pumpkin-headed cowboy has his loop around a mean, blood-shot-eyed bale of bull with a ring through its nose made of venting tube and a couple of paper-stuffed nylon bags hanging from its backside.
The cowboy’s to-do list reads: “Spay cats. Vaccinate heifers. Castrate Ferdinand.”
The first two items are crossed out. The title is “Not Today.”
It took second place in the People’s Choice. The Discovery Care Center’s “Faster, Freddy, Faster” was third.
“Crooked Corporate Tobacco Chris” received the other $50 artistic merit award for the Tobacco Free Ravalli reACT! Against Corporate Tobacco. Judges dubbed David Anderson’s “The Lounge Singer” best of bunch in the Living Statues category. Second place went to Maria Cole’s “Pioneer Sunday Best.” Nancy Slabaugh-Hart’s “Wuuvee Wanda …” was third.
The scarecrow sculptures will remain in place through Sunday.