We held our first Scarecrow Festival back in 1994 as a fundraising event for Kettlewell Primary School, which has played a vital role in the community for generations, serving the local villages, isolated hamlets and remote farms of Upper Wharfedale.
The enthusiastic response from parents and residents lead to over 100 scarecrows appearing in every corner of Kettlewell – in gardens, clambering up drainpipes and in every available space around the village. Since then the festival has grown from strength to strength, now running for 9 days every August and not only raising vital funds for Kettlewell School, but also the Village Hall, Church and other local needs.
With our track record of more than twenty years, we’re pretty sure Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival really is one of the original, biggest and best in the UK. You may have heard about us through The Telegraph or The Daily Mail, Radio 2, Channel 4’s Saturday Morning Show or many other features in local and national media. We even welcomed children’s TV presenter, Mr Bloom to help make some scarecrows for the series, ‘Marrying Mum and Dad’! We also have over 3,500 followers Facebook where you can keep up to date with the latest news.
For years, we’ve held workshops in scarecrow building to help newcomers to the village get involved and we pride ourselves on the high standards of our creations and characters, who are usually easy to identify by young or old. Over the years we’ve had all kinds of themes for our two ‘official’ trails, with fun clues specially written for children or grown-ups – from pop stars to royalty and literary characters to the Olympics. We’ve seen a croft in the village transformed into a ski run, canoe course and cricket pitch of scarecrows, as well as a whole street filled with characters from the Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory. We’ve also had a horse and jockey tumbling through our very own Beechers Brook and a giant giraffe outside our Youth Hotel!
As a bit of extra fun for little ones, we have several photo boards around the village to poke heads through for a happy snap and, outside the village hall, children can choose a hat and be the head for a traditional scarecrow. Because all children like a little something to take home, we also have scarecrow gifts from just £1.
We are delighted that Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival now welcomes thousands of visitors from far and wide. Many have been coming back year after year – often first with their children and now with their grandchildren! Whilst the fundraising is needed as much, if not more, than ever, it’s all the happy faces and positive feedback that still makes it all worthwhile.