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Families — and dogs — find fun at the Scarecrow Fest

David Hernandez Oswego flips burgers through flames GenoItalian Concessions early hours St. Charles annual scarecrow festival Saturday October 6 2012.

David Hernandez, of Oswego, flips burgers through the flames at Genoa Italian Concessions, in the early hours of the St. Charles annual scarecrow festival on Saturday, October 6, 2012. | Michele du Vair~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 8, 2012 11:41AM

ST. CHARLES — Who knew scarecrows could be so inspirational?

Or make you want to go to the dogs?

“I am going back to cheerleading,” 13-year-old Taylor D’Andrea of South Elgin said as she posed for a picture with a display of high-kicking Cheer Alliance cheerleaders wearing jack-o-lantern heads. “I miss it so much that this is inspiring me to go back.”

Taylor was one of thousands who turned out this weekend for the annual St. Charles Scarecrow Festival, with activities at Lincoln Park and spread out through downtown.

At the Canine Corner near First and Illinois streets, preschoolers begged their mothers for dollar bills so they could buy kisses from Toby the Australian shepherd, who was happy to oblige — whether he was paid or not.

“The dog kissing booth makes a lot of money for our rescue group,” noted Toby’s owner, Sherry McInerney of St. Charles, who represented Australian Shepherd Rescue Midwest.

Other canine charity groups asked visitors to “bail out” dogs incarcerated in a mock jail, or offered sign-up sheets for the wiener dog races.

“This is great,” enthused one woman pulling three miniature poodles in a nylon-sided cart. “I love having something to do with my dogs at the festival.”

Scarecrow Fest continues through Sunday. Visit the event’s website at

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