Scarecrow Festival celebrates 20years at new location in West Jordan
With a 77-acre campus near a newly opened TRAX line, administrators at the West Ridge Academy, 5500 W. Bagley Park Road, have decided to host the 20th annual Scarecrow Festival at their place over UEA weekend, Oct. 20-22. The festival has moved from Gardner Village to Sandy to Thanksgiving Point in recent years, but this fall’s fundraiser will be held at the West Ridge Academy itself, giving the public an opportunity to learn more about the facility.
Since opening its doors in 1964, the Academy, formerly known as the Utah Boys’ Ranch, has helped over 25,000 troubled teens. It now serves young men and young women in two adjacent facilities southwest of Copper Hills High School in West Jordan.
“Come see our facility and what we do, how we do it, why we do it,” said Jared Hamner, the West Ridge director in charge of this year’s festival. “We have good young men and women here who have faced some challenges in life and need some extra care. We’ve supported hope and healing in families for almost 50 years.”
The Scarecrow Festival draws up to 60,000 people annually for a full day of fall fun and food. The academy’s 120 students help with games, inflatables, bouncy houses, food preparation and other festival activities, about 30 in all. Volunteers and vendors come from outside the Academy to help with scarecrows, pumpkins, food and craft sales. All proceeds benefit the students at West Ridge.
“We’ll have climbing walls, an obstacle course, a train and novelty foods like caramel apples, kettle corn and snow-cones,” Hamner said. “Come enjoy it, have some fun and maybe throw a baseball.”