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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Family fun, scarecrows at Shangri La's Autumn Fair Saturday


Last updated 11/1/2022 at 6:50pm

The creativity and imaginations of people across Southeast Texas are on view through Saturday as Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center celebrates the season with its annual Autumn Fair.

The festival gives people a final chance to see the scarecrows designed by schools, groups, businesses, churches, and families. Don't think of an old-fashioned cartoon image of a pair of blue jeans and an old flannel shirt stuffed with hay as being a Shangri La scarecrow. You might see a Lion, a recreation of a famous work of art, or a tableaux of characters. The scarecrows are made from a variety of items, with many of the creators using recycled goods to make their art.

The scarecrow festival begins each year on the first Tuesday of October and ends with the Autumn Fair on the first Saturday of November. Visitors have been filling the Shangri La parking lot on the fall days during when the scarecrows are displayed. The botanical gardens are decorated with an array of pumpkins and gourds set off by fall plantings of blooms and colorful leaves.

This year Shangri La drew 63 entries into the scarecrow display and contest. Visitors vote for their favorites. Last year because of the threat of Covid, voting was conducted online through Shangri La's website. Because the method was so popular, the voting is online once again. The winners will be announced by the Frog Pond in Saturday afternoon.

Admission to Shangri La is free and the gates will open at 9 a.m. The fair activities will begin at 10:30 a.m. Bayou tours to the nature area will be available on Saturday for ages 4 and older. The trip on a pontoon boat along Adams Bayou takes about 45 minutes. Tickets will be handed out for the tours on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition, a short hayride around the gardens and into some of the wooded areas not usually open will be part of the activities. Once again, tickets for the hayride are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Tables will be set up by the entrance for people to get bayou tour and hayride tickets.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., a variety of family-oriented crafts can be made. They include pumpkin decorating, making bird feeders from pine cones, making paper crowns, rub drawings of leaves and apples. Games like a kids obstacle course will also add to the fun.

The Orange Lions Club will set up a food and drink booth to provide lunch and refreshments. The sales will help benefit the club and its support of local charities.


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