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'Spudcrows' will help pay for murals in Derry

Union Leader Correspondent

September 12. 2018 11:02PM
Scarecrows with burlap potato heads like these, strung up at Doire Distilling Wednesday, will soon populate Derry in an effort to raise money for a new mural. (Ryan Lessard/Union Leader Correspondent)

DERRY — Local business owners are selling “spudcrow” heads to be placed on scarecrows to raise money for outdoor wall murals, including one on the side of Cask & Vine.

The spudcrow heads are essentially misshapen burlap sacks (meant to represent potatoes) with faces painted on them that can be stuffed and placed as heads on scarecrows that will be displayed around town during the fall.

The project is the brainchild of Alana Wentworth, co-owner of Cask & Vine and Doire Distilling. Inspired by the scarecrow fundraiser by the Chester Historical Society, which sells scarecrow heads and frames, Wentworth decided to do something similar in Derry.

One of Derry’s claims to fame is that it’s the location of the first-ever planting of potato crops in the continental U.S. So, Wentworth decided to shape the heads after the bulbous tubers.

The idea is to sell the heads for $10 each and area businesses and residents will assemble the rest of the scarecrows and put them on display on their storefronts and front lawns.

The money she is raising from the project will help fund a mural on the side of Cask & Vine to be painted by The Walldogs, a group of skilled muralists from around the country, sometime in April or May of next year.

That project will cost about $20,000, Wentworth said. She’s already worked with The Walldogs on selecting a design from one of three ideas she submitted to them about a month ago.

After the first mural, Wentworth hopes to continue the spudcrow project again in September, 2019, and onward in order to eventually invite a whole team of The Walldogs to host a mural festival, where muralists work overtime to complete at least six murals around town in just a single weekend.

During that time, the muralists get to know the town.

“They all stay in people’s homes and experience Derry that way as well,” Wentworth said.

So far, Wentworth has made about 90 spudcrows with the help of others in the community such as Claire Renaud and Jo Bauer at the Costume Gallery. She said Karen Munday Lincoln painted a special head depicting Cask & Vine and Doire co-owner Andy Day. That will be unveiled on Oct. 1.

Spudcrows of Andy Day and distiller Bill Herlicka will be seated out in front of the stores, as if drinking beers.

Another spudcrow will depict local astronaut hero Alan Shepard, which will be on display at the Derry History Museum at the Derry Opera House.

When they’re done, Wentworth hopes to complete a total of 125 spudheads. She said she’s already sold them to about 80 to 90 percent of downtown Derry businesses.

Sales will continue until Sept. 26 or when inventory runs out.

She said the successful scarecrow program in Chester has sold over 900 scarecrows in the past decade.

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