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In Character: Carter recreates famed Scarecrow persona

David Carter has been portraying the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz for the past 20 years at Franklin’s Pumpkinfest. He returns to Main Street on Saturday Oct. 26.

He’s the Scarecrow at Pumpkinfest; Marley during Dickens of a Christmas; Paddy of Paddy and Kate O’Blarneystone—the Beerfest Leprechauns and, since LP stadium opened in 1999, he’s the Titans’ self-proclaimed biggest fan “Flame.”
Of all the characters he becomes, David Carter admitted his favorite is the scarecrow at Pumpkinfest.
“I am the scarecrow,” he said.
Invoking the spirit of the Ray Bolger’s scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, Carter explained his affinity for this Halloween favorite with a chuckle.
“It’s the brain thing. He didn’t have a brain, but he had compassion and he knew the Lion really had a heart. He is loveable, caring and helpful. That’s who David is.”
To prepare for his scarecrow transformation, Carter watches the Wizard of Oz at least once prior to Pumpkinfest.
“It’s like going over a script.”
He also pays special attention to the costume he designed 20 years ago when he won the Pumpkinfest Scarecrow Contest.
“It was a contest for all ages in the community,” he said. “You could either build a scarecrow or you can be one. I won and I just kept coming back.”
Although the costume has faded in places and is showing some wear, it hasn’t really changed.
“The costume makes the character memorable,” Carter said. “I don’t get into character, characters are learned before anything happens.”
It takes Carter about an hour and a half to get into costume.
“I start with the hood that goes over my head. Then I push it back so I can apply makeup.”
That takes 40-60 minutes. 
“There are 30 pieces to the outfit.They go on in a layered progression—that’s another 20 minutes.” 
Then the straw is tied up, the ends wrapped then stuffed into the various holes and attached with Velcro to keep it in place, the hood is pulled up to cover his hair and voilå – David Carter is The Scarecrow.
A professional actor for 35 years, Carter recently retired from the health insurance industry and now does what he loves – he brightens people’s day.
Looking forward to another memorable Pumpkinfest on Saturday, Oct. 26, Carter recalled why he does what he does.
“I just want to play,” he said. “I love people and I just want to play.”
Although he lives in Antioch, Carter said he loves being a part of Franklin’s festivities because, “they allow me the opportunity to do so, I thoroughly enjoy doing stuff like that, and because I’m a legend in my own mind,” he said with his infamous chuckle and twinkle in his eye. 
At 64, David Carter still has that child-like energy and enthusiasm for life which envelopes all with whom he comes in contact. 
“Don’t ever forget how to play,” he said. “It’s one of the most important things. People get lost when they forget how to play.”

Curious about the origins of Pumpkinfest, see our related article:


Posted on: 10/24/2013


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