OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith Halloween rapidly approaching, Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation is challenging local businesses, organizations and the general public to participate in its fourth annual “Scarecrows in the Park” and has extended the application deadline until Oct. 5. The scarecrows are designed and constructed by companies, families and youth groups then displayed at Lakes Park during the Fall Festival and Halloween Extravaganza, Oct. 18-31. In addition to the “Scarecrows in the Park” contest, the festival includes Lee County’s largest pumpkin patch, bounce houses, hayrides, the Halloween Express train and other activities.

Attendees will vote on their favorite scarecrow display, and a team of celebrity judges will also help determine the winners. Last year, more than 50,000 people attended the festival. The donation/entry fee is $250 and all proceeds benefit the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation, or donate $300 to sponsor a youth group entry, and $50 will go to supplies for that group. Scarecrow registration forms are available at www.LakesPark.org. The deadline for registration is Oct. 5. School or youth groups that would like to participate should contact Marsha at MarshaAsp@comcast.net who will secure a corporate sponsor for them.

“A great team building project and low cost promotional opportunity for local businesses and organizations, the scarecrows can just be funny or reflect a theme that ties into a business or service, and will include signage to identify the company. In addition, schools, youth groups, family submissions are also accepted and can be a fun way for each to celebrate the fall season while supporting Lakes Park. Now’s the time to get the information and get started!” says Marsha Asp, chairperson for the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation.

All the funds raised go back into Lakes Park with last year’s proceeds funding a free transport vehicle for ill children or adults who could benefit from some time enjoying Lakes Park’s beautiful gardens and natural settings during their rehabilitation.

The Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation established in 2004 by a group of Lee County business leaders and dedicated citizens who recognize Lakes Park as an extremely important green area in Lee County. The foundation’s main focus is to assist Lee County Parks and Recreation in the continued implementation of the $30 million Lakes Park Master Plan, enhancing the park’s environmental aesthetics, wildlife habitat and recreational amenities for the community to enjoy for many years to come. Currently, the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation is focusing its fundraising on creating a botanical garden at Lakes Park and adding wildlife viewers to improve visibility of birds in the rookery. For more information on the foundation, visit www.LakesPark.org.