Oscar popping up in Methven

Methven artists Sue Bamford (left) and Hannah Kidd with their Scarecrow Trail creation Oscar the Grouch.

The Methven Scarecrow Trail starts this weekend and you may spot some familiar characters around the town.

Every year Methven locals build scarecrows to a certain theme. This year’s theme is characters from children’s TV shows.

Methven artist Hannah Kidd, well-known for her steel and iron animal sculptures, is dropping everything to create another scarecrow masterpiece with the help of colleague Sue Bamford.

In previous years Hannah and Sue have made Buzz Lightyear, Dobbie, Dumbo and Fantastic Mr Fox.

This year, after a lot of thought, and delving back in time to their childhood, back to the days when kids would turn on the TV and watch Masters of the Universe, Jem and the Holograms and Ollie Olsen reminding us to ‘Keep cool till after school’.

The ladies decided on that iconic grumpy green chap from Sesame Street, Oscar the Grouch.

With so many characters to choose from, why Oscar the Grouch?

“We chose our favourite, we think about what will be fun and easy,” they replied.

The life size Oscar sits in his rubbish can home looking pleased with himself.

High-spec materials have gone into bringing him to life, with Hannah sacrificing her favourite green towel for his body.

Sue listed the other materials carefully chosen for the project;

“He’s stuffed with straw, his eyebrows are old woollen slippers with tennis ball eyes,” she said proudly.

There is healthy competition between the Methven scarecrow makers as local children get to vote on their favourite scarecrow creation.

“It starts out as fun and games, and before you know it it’s highly competitive,” Hannah said.

One thing that will help Oscar stand out from the others is he will be a kinetic scarecrow.

“There will be a kinetic pulley system where the kids pull a rope and the bin will open and Oscar will pop out,” the artists claim.

Although this seems a dubious boast, they have used pulleys before on Dumbo, whose ears flap when a rope is pulled.

The arduous process of creating Oscar the Grouch, included six months of planning, “a lot of coffee and cafe brain storming sessions, mood boards, and then two days of construction, and a day of staging.”

During the trail scarecrows will be placed around Methven for families to find and try to identify each character, with prizes up for grabs for the most correct entries.

Trail maps and entry forms are available from iHub and the Methven Four Square Supermarket.

-By Daniel Tobin