CHIPLEY - The beaming smiles on their straw-stuffed whimsical heads can pierce through the gloominess of any sullen day. As if grown from a garden itself, the Chipley Garden Club's Annual Scarecrow Building Contest is sure to be a lively event this year.

"It's a family-friendly community event to share creativity," said Gweneth Collins, who is head of the Club's Scarecrow Committee.

"Scarecrows grow in the garden," she chuckled. "Well, that's the way we look at it."

Themed "Scarecrows and Indians," the annual event will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 22 at the train depot site of the Washington County Historical Society Museum and Farmers Market. Spectators can expect to peruse a diversity of scarecrow entries and experience the history of Creek Indians.

Contest participants will pay a $5 entry fee to enter. Winners will receive cash prizes, ribbons, certificates, and - bragging rights. Entries may be of a single or group of scarecrows.

The entries will be displayed on the grassy area at the museum on the day of the contest.

The Club met last week to "fluff up" the collection of more than 25 handmade scarecrows stored from last November. Organizers say to keep an eye out for the staked characters, because some have new hats, heads, outfits and perhaps have "grown" legs.

Collins said the event is sure to capture the imagination of individuals from all generations.

The contest will be held in conjunction with the WCHS's history festival. The history museum and newly enhanced Creek Indian museum will be open throughout the day of the event, a news release stated. The festival also features a Native American outdoor display, demonstration of cultural skills, live entertainment and arts and crafts vendors.

The farmers market will also be open during the Sept. 22 event.

"Chipley Garden Club and Washington County Historical Society are both pleased to present a community wide event that can be enjoyed by citizens and visitors of all ages," the news release stated. "Watch for additional information about the contest and fest coming soon."

To enter the scarecrow building contest and for more information about the contest, call 850-260-4049.To become a festival vendor, call 850-638-0358.