Scarecrow festivals held in England and other areas of the world are generally annual events to raise money for festival-site churches and schools as well as to bring villagers together to celebrate the season as a community. The festival originated in Wray, England in the early 1990s and quickly spread as a festival idea to other English villages. They remain popular, as they are a good method of raising money for a community. Festivals feature elaborate scarecrow displays in participants' front yards, as well as other festival components, such as live music and food vendors.
Scarecrow festivals in England include the Harpole Scarecrow Festival, in Harpole near Northampton; the Wray Scarecrow Festival in the village of Wray in Lancashire; and the Langwathby Scarecrow Festival in Langwathby near Penrith. The residents of these villages come up with new and imaginative scarecrow ideas each year. The websites for such festivals often include scarecrow maps, allowing you to find the most scarecrows possible.
Scarecrow displays are placed in the front yards of participates. Past scarecrow themes, according to the galleries of individual festivals, have included moving scarecrows, detectives and crime, historical events or characters, reality television, topical themes and traditional themes. Other theme ideas have included superheros such as Spiderman, movies such as "The Silence of the Lambs," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Sound of Music," fairy tales and cowboys.
In addition to enjoying the different scarecrow displays, these festivals often include additional activities such as those for children including rides, face painting, bouncy castles, climbing towers and children's games. Street circuses are also featured at some festivals, such as the one in Harpole, and include fire-eaters, stilt walkers, jesters and jugglers. Raffles, live music and entertainment, remote-controlled vehicle displays, refreshment stands featuring everything from barbecue to sandwiches to cakes and coffee, and even living scarecrows and scarecrows on bikes may also be featured at assorted festivals.
Awards and Fundraising
Most festivals award cash prizes to the winners, though the festivals are usually a fundraising project for the village. For example, the first Langwathby Scarecrow Festival in 2004 raised money to restore the village hall. The Harpole festival has previously used the scarecrow festival as a way to make money for community projects, such as restoring school playgrounds, performing stages and playing fields, as well as renovating church yards and church-building repairs. Contributions are also made to community youth clubs and organizations.
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