The contest is open to individuals, families, nonprofits, schools, clubs, businesses and government.
McDonough resident and Girl Scout troop leader Susan McCurdy is participating with her troop this year.
“The contest is a great way to teach the girls to work together as a team and many of the parents are getting involved in building the scarecrow, too,” she said.
Cash prizes from $100 to $200 will be awarded to first and second place winners in three categories: individual/family built scarecrows, scarecrows built by local businesses and scarecrows built by a group such as a school or nonprofit.
The highest paid prizes will go to the Peoples’ Choice scarecrow which will win $400 and the Best of Show scarecrow, with a $500 prize.
Participants will place their scarecrows in designated areas around the Square Sept. 22 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Sept. 23 from 3 to 6:30 p.m.
“There is no particular theme for what the scarecrows should look like and it is being left up to everyone’s imagination,” said sponsor and Secret Garden store owner Joan Wheat.
The scarecrows must remain on display during the entire event, which runs through October.
All categories, except the peoples’ choice award, will be judged by an impartial panel on details such as complexity, use of props and originality.
Residents can vote for their favorite scarecrow between Sept. 25 and Oct. 16 at the city’s welcome center as well as many merchants and restaurants around the Square.
“All voters will also be automatically entered into a drawing for a gift basket provided by the McDonough Merchants Association,” Wheat said.
Winners of the competition will be announced Oct. 19 during the city’s fall festival and chili cook-off.
Wheat said the idea for the contest has taken a few years to come to fruition, but she hopes more and more residents become interested.
“The contest brings a feeling of community among residents and the merchants who participate bring awareness to McDonough’s downtown area, so I think people appreciate the hometown feel and everyone coming together for a project like this,” she said.