Scarecrow Festivals, A UK Tradition

A Scarecrow Festival

For around a week each summer and again in late autumn, you'll be able to find scarecrow festivals all over England. You'll be given a map to follow the trail through the small towns and villages that these festivities tend to take place in.

Around each corner, on garden lawns, porches, and driveways, you'll find themed scarecrows. Some are dressed up as cartoon characters, others from popular tv shows. There will be historical and political figures too.

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Although scarecrows themselves are ancient, the festivals are a modern tradition dating from the mid-1990s. The first one took place in Urchfont a rural village, and since then the festivities have spread across the UK.

Historically, scarecrows were created as a way to protect crops. Farmers originally asked children to chase away wildlife that would destroy their crops. But after the great plague in 1348, there weren't enough children to carry out this task.

As a solution, farmers made figures out of straw and wood with faces carved out of turnips or gourds, creating scarecrows to do the job instead.

A Scarecrow Festival

Today, villages across England host scarecrow festivals for summer fun and autumn celebrations. Residents show off their skills by creating scarecrows from whatever they can find, then displaying them outside their homes and on the streets. Tourists can visit the scarecrow trail, and judge the scarecrows the locals have made.

For the last few years, I've visited the Alvechurch and Belbroughton scarecrow festivals with my companion. Being outdoors and family orientated means these events are dog-friendly too. My little pal enjoys our walks around the village, discovering what new scarecrow each twist and turn brings.

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Scarecrow festivals can be tricky to find if you don't know where to look. Most villages that host them tend to do so annually but only promotes them locally. You'll need to keep an eye out for local signs, and tip offs from people in the know.

Where to find scarecrow festivals