updated 8/27/2008 7:20:55 PM ET 2008-08-27T23:20:55

This small northeastern Georgia town's population boom is, well, scary.

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In a bid to break a world record, residents are building hundreds of scarecrows — traditionally human figures stuffed with straw and dressed in old clothes to keep farm fields clear of crows and other wildlife.

In Hoschton, there's a mannequin dressed as a scuba diver, the Georgia Bulldogs football team and — of course — the cast of the Wizard of Oz. Even likenesses of Jesus and Elvis popped up.

The 1,700 real residents of Hoschton hope to nearly triple their population with 4,000 scarecrows and break the Guinness World Record for "Most Scarecrows in One Location."

The title belongs to the Cincinnati Horticultural Society's Cincinnati Flower and Farm Fest, which set the record in 2003 with 3,311 scarecrows.

Antique dealer Robbie Bettis and her husband, Fred, are leading the effort for the town's fall festival, which begins Monday.

On Wednesday they watched over an assembly line at an old downtown train depot, where about 20 people passed wooden frames among tables of dingy clothes, yellow milk jugs, plastic grocery bags, old hats, twine, ribbon and other donated materials

Crows and criminals beware: Two men caught knocking over scarecrows were sentenced to build 25 of them, lest they face trespassing charges, Mayor Bill Copenhaver said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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