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Head to Gardner Village for not-so-scary fall festival

October brings brilliant fall foliage, crisp nights and harvest time. And if your Halloween tastes run more to apple bobbing than Freddy Krueger, there's a festival just for you.

Next weekend's fifth annual Scarecrow Festival focuses on fun instead of fright. Gardner Village marketing director Marcia Banks said, "It has a real fall flavor, not just a Halloween theme. More than anything it's a fall celebration. Too often we jump into Christmas and forget about fall."Banks said the festival is geared for children age 12 and under. "It's wholesome, family entertainment in a great environment for families," she said.

Kids will enjoy pony rides and a hay maze. New this year is a Clydesdale wagon ride, an obstacle course and the "Sand Zone," two giant sandboxes where Coca-Cola has hidden specially marked bottle caps for prizes.

There will be more than 300 pumpkins aglow each evening of the festival. And David Beck of Gunnison has donated 12,000 pumpkins for sale. All of the proceeds from the festival will go to the Utah Boys Ranch.

Utah Boys Ranch is a nonprofit organization that helps boys change the direction of their lives through discovering and implementing spiritual and moral values. Along with counseling and family support, the organization believes that a strong value system can achieve long-term behavioral changes in a boy's life.

A special treat will be the scarecrow displays. Community groups have created the displays with intriguing titles like "BearCrow" and "Hide 'n' Seek in the Corn Cracker Patch." If you are interested in attending an auction on Oct. 8, please call Helen at 280-2697 for more information.

Some people might be tempted to attend the Scarecrow Festival just for the food. The folks at Gardner Village are rustling up cider and doughnuts, caramel apples, corn dogs, hot dogs, ham-bur-gers, fry bread, Navajo tacos, pizza, cotton candy and cold drinks.

Each $2 parking contribution enters a chance for one of the ten $100 shopping sprees at the village.

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Additional Information

Gardner Village Scarecrow Festival

Where: Gardner Village, 1100 W. 7800 South, West Jordan

When: Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 9-11, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

What: A family fall event with pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, apple bobbing, a junior haunted house, food, live entertainment and, of course, the 50 scarecrow displays that will be auctioned off.

Why: All proceeds from the event will benefit Utah Boys Ranch, a nonprofit, charitable residential program for troubled boys. Utah Boys Ranch receives no state funding while it works to create long-term behavioral changes.

Info: Call the Scarecrow Festival hotline at 282-1040 or check the Internet at (www.gardnervillage.com).