Posted in Event

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 2011

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 2011, 3rd Place in pairs category, one half of 'This is better than gardening'.

Last month we were out for a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive in the New Forest National Park.   Although the area is familiar territory to us, we managed to get a little bit lost after taking a wrong turn down a narrow country lane.   Unfortunately, going ‘off piste’ in the middle of a National Park is never a good idea, petrol stations are few and far between.  Eventually we found civilisation and a garage, which was situated on the edge of the lovely little village of Bisterne.  Bisterne also happened to be hosting its Annual Scarecrow Festival.  Verges, greens and front gardens were strewn with tableaux vivants made-up of assorted straw/papier mâché figures wearing clothing sourced from attic trunks. Here are a selection of my photos from this year’s entrants.  


Entrant 'That's Another Fine Miss'. Winning the group category and becoming overall champion.
Entrant 'Ladies Day has gone GaGa!'. Winning 3rd place in the group category.
Entrant 'Rockers' by Bisterne Rock and Roll Club.

One of the exhibits from entrant 'Wind in the Willows' which won 2nd place in the group category.

The Festival began in 2002 and has gone from strength to strength with visitors coming from far and wide to experience the quirky happening.  This year the event ran from the 21st August until  the 4th September.  All proceeds from entrants’ fees and collection buckets are put to good use in the local community.  Proceeds are also put towards the restoration and upkeep of the Village Hall.

Bisterne Village Hall.

In Britain during the Middle Ages children were often employed to chase crows away from the farmer’s crops.  They would charge around the field banging blocks of wood together.   In 1348 the Black Death swept across Europe decimating the population and consequently the number of children dwindled dramatically.    Enterprising farmers came-up with an alternative,  they stuffed clothes with straw, used a turnip for a head and positioned these rudimentary ‘crowscarers’  in their crop fields.  This proved a highly successful solution.

Homage in papier mâché to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Bisterne Scarecrow Festival 2011.



Social historian, based in the UK.

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