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Elsenham Scarecrow Festival: Delightful designs unite village for a weekend of straw-filled fun

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An array of straw-filled characters appeared all over Elsenham as villagers enthusiastically joined in its first ever scarecrow festival.

The event, held in place of the annual fete, was a triumph according to organisers, who were delighted that so many people decided to showcase their creations.

A total of 40 scarecrows popped up on the weekend of July 17-19, ranging from a gardener and Bob the Builder to Lily the Land Girl, a pair of aliens, a flowerpot character atop a road sign and the more traditional-looking bird scarers.

Elsenham Scarecrow Festival. Gill Hathaway with Lily the Land Girl. Pic: Vikki Lince (39027990)
Elsenham Scarecrow Festival. Gill Hathaway with Lily the Land Girl. Pic: Vikki Lince (39027990)

Options Hair Design created a hairdresser and client which proudly sat outside its shop, although the scarecrows were trashed one night by vandals, who also destroyed one outside the post office stores.

Organiser Elaine Terry said: "Two got vandalised by the shops and one in Ridley Gardens belonging to the lady who'd suggested the event in the first place. She said, 'Do you know what? It got us more publicity', so a positive came out of a negative."

Indeed, people took to Facebook to like and comment on the shared photos of the scarecrows. "One man who'd been cycling through the village said he nearly fell off his bike when he came round a corner and saw a scarecrow, but he loved it!" said Elaine.

Elsenham Scarecrow Festival. Pic: Vikki Lince (39027962)
Elsenham Scarecrow Festival. Pic: Vikki Lince (39027962)

"It's the first time we've ever done it. We decided to do it because we couldn't have the fete this year. It gave people something to go out and see, and they loved it.

"It wasn't a competition, it just got everyone talking. We had a good spread all over the village from all ages – people with young children to retired people – and it was just a bit of fun. I think we'll probably do it again next year."

Photos Elaine collected from everyone who took part will be displayed at the 2021 fete, on June 5.

"I just loved the range of ideas. People's imaginations just ran wild and that's what we wanted to see – it was great!"

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