Maine Innkeeper’s Art Gets Attention

Ogunquitfest taps directly into the creativity of local business owners and innkeepers: The Ogunquitfest Autumn Display / Scarecrow Contest!

Teams at most of Ogunquit’s local businesses work to adorn their front yards and doorways with vivid fall imagery – and the inventiveness and ingenuity of these “scarecrow” creations is limited only by the imaginations of their creators!

With such a high rate of participation in the contest, the end result is truly an eye-candy stretch of “spooky season” fabulousness from Perkins Cove, up Shore Road, and along Main Street in Ogunquit! It draws many, many visitors to our “beautiful place by the sea”!

Perhaps because of my early personal connection to Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang, my artwork has always been dominated by playful and colorful cartoon elements. So, for my entries to the contest, I have always embraced the warmth and nostalgia of the iconic cartoon characters that always seem to make children of all ages smile!

My hand-drawn/painted autumnal displays are a major draw to the Hartwell House Inn each October. You wouldn’t believe the crowds that gather all day and even into the evening to appreciate, pose beside, and even take Instagram selfies with these cartoon figures! 

It’s not uncommon at all to see traffic backed up on Shore Road in front of the Hartwell House Inn as cars stop so the passengers can take photos of my displays from their car windows!

I’m also proud to mention that I won the first place spot in the 2017 Ogunquitfest Halloween Display Contest!

Without a doubt, participation in this seasonal celebration – and the sharing of my artwork – has opened up a huge sense of recognition and visibility for Hartwell House Inn. People tag their social media photos at our location – and those photos are widely shared and commented on across all of the major social media networks. Guests to our town stop me to learn more about my creations, they share stories about their own autumn memories with me — it’s always such a positive experience!

It gives me the chance to talk about my artwork, acquaint them with the Hartwell House Inn, introduce some of them to the website I publish / Facebook (where I share my breakfast, baking, and hospitality tips), and has even resulted in new real estate leads for me (I’m a Maine Realtor®, too)!

My advice to other innkeepers: Enthusiastically throw yourself into the seasons! Especially in New England, our guests are often seeking experiences elevated by a connection to our four glorious seasons! If you deliver seasonally-appropriate flavors, scents, imagery, and experiences to your guests in an authentic way — you’ll be adding to some of the best memories of their lives, and they’ll be certain to visit your business again!

Here is a video of my legendary 2017 Ogunquitfest display: 

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