The Patrick Harkins Band returns for this year's Scarecrow Festival in Madison Oct. 10.
The Patrick Harkins Band returns for this year's Scarecrow Festival in Madison Oct. 10.

Scarecrows and classic cars signal autumn’s arrival in downtown Madison.

The city’s Scarecrow Festival returns Oct. 10 followed by the Scarecrow Cruise & Car Show on Oct. 18-19. Both are set on the grounds along Main Street by Madison Square Center for the Arts.

The eighth annual Scarecrow Festival, sponsored by BankPlus, brings music by The Patrick Harkins Band, games, and fall fun to downtown that evening on Main Street 6-8 p.m. 

“This is a wonderful way to kick off the fall season with all of our friends and family in Madison. The event will have an obstacle course, food trucks, cake walk, pony rides, inflatables, face painting, and even a mechanical bull. There are so many things to enjoy about this event, and we are excited to be bringing it to our community for our eighth year,” Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Hanson said. 

Hungry festival-goers will find a street filled with food choices. Local restaurants and food trucks lining up on Main Street to sell their favorites will be Burgers & Blues, 30 Below, Let’s Celebrate What’s Poppin, Pizza Shack, Strawberry Café and Taqueria La Reata.

A section of Main Street will be closed to through traffic for the Scarecrow Festival. The short stretch of Main Street from the railroad tracks to First Baptist Church’s entrance by Trustmark Bank will be closed, 1-10 p.m. on Oct. 10. No businesses or churches will be affected by the closing. 

To get in the scarecrow spirit, Madison the City Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a contest for the best scarecrow put up by local businesses at their locations. Photos of the scarecrows are posted on the Chamber’s Facebook and Instagram for voting through Oct. 17  

“The business with the most likes will win a prize,” Chamber Director Elizabeth Fulcher Tyler said. “We are excited about all of the wonderful scarecrows and building excitement for the festival.”

Revving up the weekend of Oct. 18-19 will be the Scarecrow Cruise & Car Show, which returns for its 16th year. On display will be 450-500 classic cars, trucks and even tractors in the show presented by the Mississippi Classic Cruisers car club and hosted by the City of Madison. There is no charge to attend any of the car show events, which are open to the public. 

“This is always a fun car show, and it’s probably the largest car show in central Mississippi. Some great cars will come out for the show. For the last five years, it’s just gotten bigger and bigger,” said Barry Schmidt with the Mississippi Classic Cruisers. “A lot of time and effort go into these cars.”

The car show festivities kick off Friday, Oct. 18. There will be a balloon glow, a video game truck, face painting, Don’t Drink and Drive simulator and Trunk or Treat with show participants handing out candy from the trunks of their vehicles at 6 p.m. On Friday afternoon, those registered can enter Cruisin’ 4 Cash where they win prizes by stopping at designated locations in the county.

On Friday evening and Saturday during the car show, there will also be a Dyno-Pull that tests the horsepower of a car. The cost of testing is $40, but several free tests will be given away Friday. “This is a big draw for car people,” Schmidt said. 

Besides all makes and models of vehicles shined up and ready for viewing 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, there will be five “Transformers” walking the grounds and a replica of R2-D2 from Star Wars. “The kids will love these,” Schmidt said.

A variety of food vendors will be on the grounds Saturday. Saturday’s events also include a silent auction by Hope Hollow Ministries and the Mississippi SIDS Alliance arts and crafts show. “This show is strictly for charity,” Schmidt said.

Scarecrow is an open show, which means any vehicle may enter. More than 140 awards will be given out at the end of the show. Mississippi Classic Cruisers will be at Madison Square Center for the Arts Friday starting at 8 a.m. for owners to register their cars and on Saturday morning. Owners can also register online at