HOSCHTON - The Hoschton scarecrows were spared from the flames Saturday night, but the scarecrow makers had a bonfire anyway to celebrate their 2008 world record setting event.
There also were hot chocolate and marshmallows on a foggy evening as the scarecrows watched in silence, possibly relieved they were not fuel (as planned) for the big bonfire on the Kenerly farm just outside of town on Georgia Highway 53.
Teresa Kenerly said the fire department did not want the scarecrows burned as planned, because many of them were partially made from cloth and plastic, which, if ignited, could release toxic smoke into the air.
Robbie Bettis originated the world record attempt, and she said Hoschton achieved it from the American World Records Academy after the English Guinness Book of World Records turned them down.
"Actually they contacted us and said 'Oh yes, you have a world record'," Bettis said. "We knew we had a world record because we certainly beat the group that had the record with Guinness. We surpassed that by more than 2,000."
Hoschton set that record with 5,441 scarecrows.
Kenerly made more than 100 scarecrows, including a scene with football players and spectators.
"All the people came together and it was so much fun," she said. "We feel like we're the Scarecrow Capital of the World."
Bettis said the world record event grew out of Hoschton's Fall Festival; townspeople have been making and displaying scarecrows for years and will continue to do so.
"The scarecrows survived," she said. "We're very happy that we'll have some that are still here that we can re-clothe, regroup and do something with rather than letting them go to the fire."