What do a chicken, a bridal party, Boris Johnson hanging from a washing line waving the Union Jack and The Simpsons have in common?
Scarecrows of course…
They’re just some of the many carefully crafted bugaboos that have made their appearance in some of the scarecrow festivals held in the UK over the past few years.
I’ve been disappointed to find out that there’s no folk history aspect to all of this scarecrowing (all the festivals have come into being relatively recently) but they all do a power of good for their local communities, raising money, morale and no doubt some deadly competitive instincts.
Kettlewell scarecrow festival
This year’s festival runs from 10th – 18th August and festivities include following a trail of scarecrows round the village; identifying them and finding clues; enjoying tea and buns in the village hall and daily prize-giving for the lucky trail winners.
It’s an event that’s growing in popularity every year, attracting thousands to the small village of Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales. Let’s hope it’s not rained off this year, as was Britain’s other scarecrow festival last year – the Muston Scarecrow Festival…
Muston Scarecrow Festival
This too is a Yorkshire event and it’s on at the moment (running until 4th August), so there’s still a little time to get there.
It’s so popular after recent coverage on the BBC that their website isn’t working as I write, but presumably that won’t have an affect on the number of visitors.
Wray Village Fair and Scarecrow Festival
Scarecrows are just a small part of the annual festival that has been taking place in Wray in Lancashire since 1894. A giant scarecrow parade, car boot sale, classic bike and car gatherings and a vintage market are just some of the events that take place over the May Day weekend.
Urchfont Scarecrow Festival
The Urchfont festival in Wiltshire, in common with all of events mentioned on this page, use the scarecrow trail idea as a way of raising funds for local amenities. This one, held annually in May, originally began as a way to raise money for a new village hall, and this year (2013) they raised a massive £37K+ for various causes.
Harpole Village Scarecrow Festival
This enterprising lot in Harpole Village, Northampton, have an open top double decker bus touring the town, and this year they’re featuring a geocaching route too. Games and stalls galore and a novelty scarecrow themed bicycle ride around town are planned for this September’s festival.
Have you visited any of these, or any other scarecrow festivals in the UK? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments box below.