Bats in the Belltower

Members of the Lone Rock Parent-Teacher Membership work on bandana bats to decorate their bell tower display in the Lone Rock Elementary School gym on Sunday afternoon. The bell tower, which will feature the school lunch ladies, will be entered in the Stevensville scarecrow festival next month.

STEVENSVILLE — On the first Friday of October every year, crowds walk up and down Main Street in Stevensville to view scarecrows lining the road. The annual Scarecrow Festival is a popular event among residents in the area who enter and create displays that are judged by attendees throughout the weekend.

But before the awards and festivities, participants have a lot of work to do. In preparation for this year’s festival, several women from the Parent Teacher Membership at Lone Rock School met on Sunday to get a head start on their display.

The four women, Jen Gunterman, Alexis O’Toole, Beth Schaefer and Mandy King, gathered in Lone Rock’s gymnasium where they cut chrome spray-painted insulation board and assembled it into the shape of a bell.

The PTM decided to focus on the bell tower for their theme as a nod to a tower that was installed on the school’s campus last year. The bell was found in a storage area a couple years ago and while its history isn’t entirely clear, it’s thought to be a school bell, said Beth Schaefer, a PTM member.

“It’s going to look like the bell tower and then it’s going to have witches with a cauldron underneath and we’re going to make them the lunch ladies,” said Jen Gunterman, another PTM member. “Our school is known for its food and our cafeteria. Everybody loves the lunch ladies.”

King said the lunch ladies at Lone Rock are loved for their homemade bread and cinnamon rolls, as well as tacos, pizza and sloppy joes with wheat buns baked from scratch. She said the cinnamon rolls have become so popular that once a month, families are invited to purchase them for a dollar each. The lunch ladies also use produce from nearby gardens and make “rocket subs” named after the Lone Rock Rockets.

Recognizing the school’s lunch ladies is just one way participants use exhibits to highlight parts of their community and celebrate Stevensville’s history.

“We don’t go into this thinking ‘we’re going to win’ or anything,” Gunterman said. “We just want to have fun and build some fun thing.”

“And have our school be a part of it,” O’Toole said.

Since the festival focuses more on having fun than competing, Schaefer said the term “scarecrow” is used loosely. The three witches the PTM is using as the lunch ladies are part of a Halloween prop that King purchased from Costco.

The women also made decorative bats to accompany the witches and hang from the tower. They twisted wire and wrapped bandanas around the wire creations in an attempt to make figures that resembled bats.

“I feel like there’s a step-by-step of how to make these on Pinterest,” King said.

“I like to be my own Pinterest,” Schaefer said.

The women said they will meet again to finish their display and assemble it before the festival. When it finally comes time to unveil it, they’ll join the rest of the town viewing all of the scarecrows and judging them on a piece of paper.

This year’s festival will take place from Friday, Oct. 5 to Sunday, Oct. 7. In addition to the scarecrows, there will be live music and treats, a straw maze, a kids’ pumpkin contest, a bounce house and a farmers market over the course of the weekend.

The winners will be announced on Monday, Oct. 8 and the scarecrows will remain up for viewing until Sunday, Oct. 14.