A more sparkling, sunny autumn afternoon could not have been found Sunday for the first Assumption Scarecrow Festival at the Stratfield Road parish.

Families has seasonal fun in the sun fashioning their own scarecrows, stuffing them full of hay and giving them plastic pumpkin heads. The event raised funds for Assumption Catholic School.

"I think everybody decorates around this time of year," said Debbie Carrara of Bridgeport, who co-chaired the event.

"We were able to get the clothing donated and the hay at a good cost," she said. "Hopefully, we'll make some cash for the school and hopefully we'll do it again next year."

A variety of other activities for kids were also offered, including pony rides, face painting, a bouncing tent and a visit from Stratfield volunteer firefighters.

"It's just a bunch of fun activities that families can do on a nice Sunday afternoon," said Jody Gourley of Bridgeport, another co-chairwoman.

"Last year, for Boy Scouts, we made scarecrows, and they were easy and fun, so we were trying to think of some new fundraising ideas for the school," she said.

"I think it's great," said Brian Monahan of Bridgeport. "It's a lot of fun for the kids."

"They're actually having more fun here," his wife Kim Monahan said than at a large pumpkin-picking farm the family went to upstate.

"We love fall festivals," said Jessica Nappi of Fairfield, who came with her 3-year-old daughter Jessica. "It's good outdoor fun for the family."

More than 40 scarecrows were assembled throughout the afternoon, according to Nathalie Monfiston of Bridgeport, whose children Lem, 3, and Na'Cooksa, 8, attend the school, and who was helping distribute materials.

"I was actually surprised to see how many families have been building them," she said, putting the finishing touches on her own scarecrow. "We're running out of clothes at this point."

"I think this is a great way to support the school," she said. "And it's a great activity with Halloween coming around."

"It's cute. It's fun," said Monica Lambert of Bethel, whose son, Riley, 3, enjoyed a ride on a pony named Tonka, visiting from the Pee Wee Horse Farm in Easton.

"It was good," Riley said. "I wasn't scared. I liked his wagging tail. I liked that."