The annual scarecrow-building contest returns with the rest of the Farm Tour festivities this year. “Hay Bale Square Pants” by Kathy Lyons won in 2014. Courtesy David Montesino/Longbranch Chronicles

The Key Peninsula is gearing up for the Oct. 1 Farm Tour. Preliminary activities start with an art show at Blend Wine Shop in Key Center featuring pictures related to farming. The show runs from Aug. 31 to Oct. 4.

Be on the lookout for a scarecrow invasion lining the road through Key Center from the library to the stoplight. To be eligible for prize money, scarecrows must be preregistered in the parking lot at Blend Saturday, Sept. 17, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. “Prizes will be awarded for Best Organization, Best Business and Best Individual,” Farm Tour treasurer Carolyn Wiley said. “Check with businesses if you would like to put one up.” Scarecrows will be on display from Sept. 17 through Oct. 1.

Farm Tour Night Out is Sept. 22 at the Key Center Library at 7 p.m., featuring a slide show about farming on the KP.

The Key Center Fire Station is a good starting point for the Farm Tour on Oct. 1. Staff and volunteers will be serving up pancakes, ham and juice from 8 to 11 a.m. “We’ll have a fire demonstration in the back parking lot,” Fire Chief Guy Allen said. “We’ll be done by 1 p.m.”

Farm Tour information guides will be available at Gateway Park, 10405 SR-302. An exhibit there by The Key Peninsula Parks Foundation will explain the development of Gateway Park. Key Peninsula Historical Society will also be there with a historic huckleberry-cleaning machine. Hayrides will be offered.

Event headquarters will be at Blue Willow Lavender Farm. “This is Blue Willow’s last hurrah,” owner and Farm Council President Tracy Ketts said. “I leave the next day. Most of the plants are gone, but there are 37 you-dig plants available for $2.00 a plant. Pick lavender for free in the field. We will have the lavender Barbie hospital, carved pumpkin wall, Rib Ticklers, music and animals.” The Bee Lady will be selling honey and Chuck Kraft will demonstrate horse handling and techniques for dealing with troubled horses.

Four Winds Riding Center will also be there presenting equestrian vaulting on the hour every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Girls aged 8 to 19 will demonstrate their gymnastic abilities on horseback. There will also be pony rides; bring your own camera. Snacks and drinks will be available.

Bea’s Flowers is a popular stop on the Farm Tour. “We have two new goats for the petting zoo, ponies, ducks, geese, rabbits and chickens,” Bea Morrison said. “Alaskan Tammy will be the musician.” Bea’s large variety of dahlias, pumpkins and other produce will be available.

Minterbrook Oyster Farm will be selling clams and oysters with 10 percent of proceeds going to the Farm Tour. Oyster beds will be open for viewing at low tide between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. An oyster shucker will be at work until about 3 p.m.

Packleader Farm will have chickens, ducks and varieties of sheep, a petting zoo and snacks. The All-Breed Herding Club of Western Washington will be working all the herding breeds.

YMCA Camp Seymour is joining the Farm Tour this year. “We are really looking forward to being part of this community event,” Marketing and Development Director Diane Jackson said. Come and see Washington’s largest Living Machine: their sewage treatment facility. It’s a large greenhouse filled with plants and other organisms housed in hydroponic tanks to treat the camp’s wastewater. Final processing is done in a wetland outside the greenhouse. Learn how sustainable systems can work cooperatively with nature. There will be games and activities for children.

Lakebay Marina will be open for breakfast at 10 a.m. “We’ll have fish and chips and a special on Minterbrook oysters,” owner Mark Scott said. The KP Historical Society will display a history of KP food co-ops. The KP’s current co-op, Fresh Food Revolution, will also be there. Harbor Wild Watch will have a scuba diver gathering sea life for an outdoor classroom. Tweed Meyer will be painting and country singer Donn Allard will play at noon. Local band 302 will play that evening.

The Fiber Arts and Antique Tractor Show at the Longbranch Improvement Club will feature a variety of artists and vendors, music and food, including Peg’s famous apple crisp.

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